By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog
LINCOLN, Neb. – Today State Auditor Mike Foley did not rule out the possibility of running for mayor of Lincoln next year.
State Auditor Mike Foley
Foley was ousted from the Republican primary for governor on Tuesday and will leave the auditor’s office in seven months, since he decided to run for governor rather than re-election. The job of mayor will be up for grabs in the spring of 2015.
Since Foley is rumored to be considering a run for mayor, Nebraska Watchdog asked him about it Wednesday.
“Haven’t given it much thought,” was his response.
Does that mean he’s given it a little thought? “I need time to absorb and evaluate the events of the past 24 hours and to rest up from our efforts of the past eight months,” he said.
Foley finished fourth in the six-way GOP primary race for governor, but he has a formidable grassroots support base in Lincoln, including a strong contingent of Catholics who work hard for him. In fact, he carried Lancaster County in the governor’s race, garnering 41 percent of the vote, followed by Attorney General Jon Bruning with 22 percent, according to the Lancaster County Election Commissioner’s unofficial results.
However, incumbent Mayor Chris Beutler is also a daunting opponent and he’s expected to run for a third term. And although he’s increased a long list of taxes and fees during his two terms, he’s also shepherded a major revitalization of downtown Lincoln, anchored by the new Pinnacle Bank Arena and associated redevelopment of a railyard called West Haymarket. Lincoln also has consistently had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, weathering the Great Recession well.
Foley and Beutler served together in the Legislature for several years: Foley was a state lawmaker from 2000-2007 before being elected state auditor, where he’s earned a reputation for overseeing no-holds-barred, scathing audits of agencies and governments — including audits of Lincoln’s massive Antelope Valley Project and West Haymarket development.
Beutler served in the Legislature from 1979 to 1986 and 1991 to 2006, when he was term-limited out of office. There are no term limits on Lincoln mayors.
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