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Ben Sasse

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Ben Sasse
Ben Sasse Official photo.jpg
U.S. Senate, Nebraska
In office
January 3, 2015 - Present
Term ends
January 3, 2021
Years in position 0
PredecessorMike Johanns (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 4, 2014
Next generalNovember 3, 2020
Term limitsN/A
Master'sSt. Johns & Yale
Place of birthPlainview, Nebraska
ProfessionPresident of Midland University
Office website
Campaign website
Ben Sasse is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate, representing Nebraska. He was first elected to the Senate in 2014 and is currently serving his first term.

Sasse won the Republican nomination in the primary on May 13, 2014, before winning the general election on November 4, 2014.


Sasse is the current president of Midland University. However, three days after he won the Republican primary in May 2014, he announced that he would resign from the university's presidency at the end of the year.[1] Sasse previously served in President George W. Bush's administration, from December 2007 until Obama's inauguration in January 2009. Sasse worked as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the Department of Health and Human Services. He focused on healthcare and entitlement program initiatives in particular.[2]

Sasse attended Harvard University, Oxford University, St. John's University and earned his Ph.D. from Yale University.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Sasse's academic, professional and political career:[4][5][6][7]

  • January 2015 - Present: U.S. Senator from Nebraska
  • February 2010 - December 2014: President, Midland University[8]
  • January 2009 - December 2009: Assistant professor, University of Texas at Austin
  • December 2007 - January 2009: Assistant secretary, Health and Human Services
  • December 2006 - December 2007: Counselor to the secretary, Health and Human Services
  • September 2005 - December 2006: Assistant professor, University of Texas at Austin
  • July 2005 - September 2005: Contractor, Department of Homeland Security
  • January 2005 - July 2005: Chief of staff, U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry
  • January 2004 - January 2005: Chief of staff, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Sasse serves on the following committees:[9]



Sasse's opponent in the 2014 primary, Shane Osborn, began circulating articles written by Sasse about The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally known as "Obamacare." According to Osborn, these articles showed that Sasse was sympathetic to the health care bill. Sasse, however, maintained that he had always opposed Obamacare. Sasse defended the articles by stating, "I was describing, as a strategic consultant, where we were at in the health care debate. That's different from me being able to advocate."[10]



See also: United States Senate elections in Nebraska, 2014

In 2014, Sasse won election to the U.S. Senate to represent Nebraska. Sasse won the Republican nomination in the primary on May 13, 2014.[2] He went on to defeat Dave Domina (D), Jim Jenkins (I) and Todd Watson (I) in the general election on November 4, 2014.

U.S. Senate, Nebraska General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBen Sasse 64.4% 347,636
     Democrat Dave Domina 31.5% 170,127
     Independent Jim Jenkins 2.9% 15,868
     Independent Todd Watson 1.2% 6,260
Total Votes 539,891
Source: Nebraska Secretary of State
U.S. Senate, Nebraska Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBen Sasse 49.3% 110,802
Sid Dinsdale 22.5% 50,494
Shane Osborn 21.1% 47,338
Bart McLeay 5.7% 12,840
Clifton Johnson 1.5% 3,310
Total Votes 224,784
Source: Nebraska Secretary of State

Sasse spent a reported $8,500 to buy airtime during the Bowl Championship Series game between Auburn University and Florida State University. The game aired on January 6, 2014.[11]


Osborn criticizes Sasse for remarks on Obamacare

Senate Conservatives Fund ad supporting Sasse

Freedom Pioneers Action Network ad attacking Sasse
  • Sasse's primary opponent, Shane Osborn, released a campaign ad on April 28, 2014, attacking Sasse for purportedly supporting Obamacare.[12]
  • The Freedom Pioneers Action Network released an attack ad against Sasse in May 2014, criticizing him for saying that Obamacare "is an important first step." Sasse defended himself by saying that this quote was taken out of context.[14]


Sasse was endorsed by the following people and organizations:

Campaign donors


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Sasse's reports.[25]

Ben Sasse (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
October Quarterly[26]October 8, 2013$0.00$835,103.00$(28,607.56)$806,495.44
Year-End[27]January 26, 2014$806,495.44$569,593.76$(373,636.02)$1,002,453.18
April Quarterly[28]October 14, 2014$1,002,453.18$883,903.11$(809,943.09)$1,076,413.20
Pre-Primary[29]October 15, 2014$1,076,413.20$181,914.72$(518,931.76)$739,396.16
July Quarterly[30]October 15, 2014$739,396.16$1,303,770.63$(1,026,927.25)$1,016,239.54
October Quarterly[31]October 15, 2014$1,016,239.54$2,001,685.70$(1,004,738.97)$2,013,186.27
Pre-General[32]October 22, 2014$2,013,186.27$328,846.06$(696,715.00)$1,645,317.33
Running totals

Sasse raised $800,000 in his first quarter. His opponent, Shane Osborn, raised $234,000 in his first quarter.[33]

He had received a total of $44,692 in earmarked contributions from the Senate Conservatives Fund as of December 2013.[34]


Sasse is married with three children.[35]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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  1. News Observer, "GOP Senate candidate Sasse resigns from university," accessed May 28, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Journal Star, "Sasse will be Senate candidate," accessed August 19, 2013
  3., "A new face in Nebraska politics: Ben Sasse," accessed August 19, 2013
  4. Federal Depository Library Program Electronic Collection (FDLP/EC) Archive, "Nominations of Christopher Padilla, Christina Pearson, and Benjamin Sasse," accessed January 11, 2014
  5. Wall Street Journal, "Is Government Health Insurance Cheap?," accessed January 11, 2014
  6. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, "Ben Sasse," accessed January 28, 2015
  7. United States Senate, "United States Senate Financial Disclosures," accessed January 11, 2014
  8. Campus Reform, "Sasse to resign as Midland University president following Senate primary victory," accessed January 9, 2015
  9. United States Senate, "Committee Assignments of the 114th Congress," accessed February 17, 2015
  10. Omaha, "Opponents scour Ben Sasse's old writings for fodder," accessed April 29, 2014
  11. Roll Call, "Nebraska Republican to Make TV Buy During BCS Game," accessed December 16, 2013
  12. National Journal, "Osborn's New Ad Hits Sasse's Obamacare Past," accessed April 29, 2014
  13. The Hill, "Nebraska Senate GOP primary ad war heats up," accessed May 8, 2014
  14. Roll Call, "Super PAC Uses Candidate’s Kids to Attack His Campaign," accessed May 8, 2014
  15. Free Republican, "Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses Ben Sasse (Nebraska Senate Seat)," accessed October 22, 2013
  16. The Washington Post, "Club for Growth backs Sasse in Nebraska," accessed November 8, 2013
  17., "Senate hopeful Ben Sasse picks up endorsement of ex-House Majority Leader Dick Armey," accessed November 15, 2013
  18. Roll Call, "Rep. Paul Ryan Gives Support to Ben Sasse in Nebraska Senate Race," accessed November 19, 2013
  19. Roll Call, "Coburn Endorses in Competitive Nebraska Senate Primary," February 10, 2014
  20. Washington Times, "Mike Lee endorses Ben Sasse in Nebraska GOP Senate primary," March 4, 2014
  21. Journal Star, "Farm Bureau endorses Ben Sasse," accessed May 5, 2014
  22. The Washington Post, "Ted Cruz endorses Ben Sasse in Nebraska Senate race," accessed May 28, 2014
  23. 1011 Now, "Tea Party Express Endorses Ben Sasse for U.S. Senate in Nebraska," accessed May 28, 2014
  24. Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, "Ben Sasse earns nod from Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund," accessed May 28, 2014
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Ben Sasse Summary Report," accessed April 29, 2014
  26. Federal Election Commission, "Ben Sasse October Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  27. Federal Election Commission, "Ben Sasse Year-End," accessed April 29, 2014
  28. Federal Election Commission, "Ben Sasse April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Ben Sasse Pre-Primary," accessed November 3, 2014
  30. Federal Election Commission, "Ben Sasse July Quarterly," accessed November 3, 2014
  31. Federal Election Commission, "Ben Sasse October Quarterly," accessed November 3, 2014
  32. Federal Election Commission, "Ben Sasse Pre-General," accessed November 3, 2014
  33. Roll Call, "First-Time GOP Senate Candidate Posts Knock-Out Fundraising Quarter," accessed October 1, 2013
  34. Roll Call, "Senate Conservatives Fund Ramps Up Earmarking Effort," accessed December 27, 2013
  35. Journal Star, "Ben Sasse: Getting to know you," accessed August 19, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Johanns (R)
U.S. Senate - Nebraska
Succeeded by