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A Yalie senator for the other side of the aisle?

The US senate now counts seven Yale graduates among its members. The seven have something else in common: every one of them is a Democrat (Bennet–CO, Blumenthal–CT, Brown–OH, Coons–DE, Klobuchar–MN, Nelson–FL, and Whitehouse–RI). But the Republican caucus is now likely to see an Eli next year. Ben Sasse ’04PhD, the president of Midland University, a Lutheran institution in Fremont, Nebraska, won that state’s Republican senate primary on Tuesday.

Sasse (pronounce it "sass"), 42, is a fifth-generation Nebraskan and the father of three home-schooled children. Recruited to Harvard as a wrestler, he worked in consulting and Christian nonprofit groups before coming to Yale in 1998 as a graduate student in history. His thesis, about the rise of American conservative groups during the Cold War, won the university's Field and Egleston prizes. Since then, he has worked in the Bush Administration and in academia. He was appointed president of Midland in 2009.

In the midst of a much-discussed “civil war” among Republicans, Sasse doesn’t fall neatly into either the establishment or Tea Party camps. His Ivy League and Washington credentials suggest the former, but he was endorsed by several Tea Party groups. Slate’s Dave Weigel, wondering aloud if Sasse is “the next Ted Cruz,” calls him “a veteran of the establishment who masterfully ingratiated himself with the conservative movement.”

Whatever his politics, his chances of joining the DC Yale Club are pretty good in deep-red Nebraska: a new post-primary Rasmussen poll has him 17 points ahead of Democratic nominee David Domina.


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under Ben Sasse, US Senate, Nebraska
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