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Ben Sasse is the sole finalist to become the next University of Florida president

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) questions U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 23, 2022 in Washington, DC. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s pick to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, would become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court if confirmed. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) questions U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 23, 2022 in Washington, DC. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s pick to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, would become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court if confirmed. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A search committee for the University of Florida has recommended Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., to serve as the next university president. "Ben brings intellectual curiosity, a belief in the power and potential of American universities, and an unmatched track record of leadership spanning higher education, government and the private sector," Rahul Patel, chair of the committee, said in a statement.

"The University of Florida is the most interesting university in America right now," Sasse said in the university statement, adding that he was "thrilled about the opportunity" to serve as president. His Senate office has not released any additional comment.

Sasse is currently two years into his second six-year Senate term. If he were to resign from elected office, Nebraska's governor, Republican Pete Ricketts, has the power to appoint someone to serve out the remainder of Sasse's term. It is unlikely to affect the balance of power in the Senate.

The university said it reached out to more than 700 candidates in and out of higher education, narrowed it down to a dozen, and unanimously recommended Sasse, 50, as the lone finalist.

The university's board of trustees must approve the recommendation, which is then subject to confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors. Sasse is expected to visit the university next Monday, and the board of trustees will meet on Nov. 1.

Congress is currently on recess ahead of the midterm elections. Lawmakers are expected to return after the election for a lame duck session likely to include legislation to fund the government, protect same sex marriage, and overhaul the electoral process in response to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.