State Auditor Mike Foley appears ready to jump into the Nebraska governor’s race.
Foley, a Republican from Lincoln who has been mulling a bid for months, is set to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. Thursday to talk about his future. U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, one of Foley’s strongest political allies, will be on hand to give some introductory remarks.
Two sources said Wednesday that Foley had decided to run. It is a political risk for Foley because he will not be able to seek re-election to his state office if he runs for governor.
Under state law, a candidate cannot run for two offices at the same time.
Foley’s entry almost guarantees one of Nebraska’s most competitive gubernatorial races in a long time. So far, four candidates have mounted campaigns: Democrats Chuck Hassebrook and Annette Dubas, and Republicans Charlie Janssen and Tom Carlson.
In addition, Republican and Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts is expected to announce his candidacy shortly.
Foley is a former state lawmaker from Lincoln who in 2006 defeated incumbent Kate Witek to become state auditor. She had switched her party affiliation that year from Republican to Democrat.
Foley, who has a strong following among social conservatives, was re-elected in 2010 with about 80 percent of the vote. He is a staunch abortion opponent who made that one of his signature issues in the Nebraska Legislature, introducing five bills that attempted to restrict or curtail abortions in the state.