Nebraska governor names predecessor to US Senate seat

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — In one of his first acts as Nebraska’s governor, Republican Jim Pillen has named Pete Ricketts to fill the state’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. Pillen surprised no one Thursday in naming his predecessor to the seat vacated Sunday by Ben Sasse, even as some Republicans expressed reservations about him choosing his benefactor. Pillen was elected in November in large part because of Ricketts’ backing, which included more than $100,000 of his own money contributed directly to Pillen’s campaign. Sasse announced in the fall that he would be leaving the Senate to take a job as president of the University of Florida.