Having already committed to running in 2024, Sen. Pete Ricketts’ first official speech from the floor of the U.S. Senate sounded a lot like a campaign kick-off announcement.

Ricketts spoke for 15 minutes—his so-called “maiden speech”—blasting the Biden administration’s “reckless spending,” a border “security crisis,” and a “disastrous, shameful withdrawal” from Afghanistan that showed weakness to both our allies and enemies.

{View a portion of Ricketts' remarks above]

Ricketts was appointed to the Senate in January by Gov. Jim Pillen, the man Ricketts backed and financially supported in the 2022 governor’s race.

Critics said the appointment was a no-surprise payback in a “blatant pay-to-play scheme.”

So far, no Republican or Democrat has yet to announce plans to challenge Ricketts in a 2024 special election.

That election is needed to fill out the rest of Ben Sasse’s term. Sasse resigned his Senate seat to take the top job at the University of Florida.

A second Senate election is set for 2026, for a full six-year term.