State Auditor Mike Foley is ready to enter the 2014 Republican gubernatorial contest, scrambling a wide-open race that will grow even larger before the month is over.
Foley announced Wednesday he has scheduled a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday at 1 p.m. to "announce his political intentions" for next year.
Instead of choosing to seek re-election as state auditor, Foley has told a few close supporters he has decided to bid for the governorship.
Foley will enter the field as a top-echelon candidate, bringing with him a staunchly conservative and highly visible record of strict fiscal oversight as state auditor.
Before his election as auditor in 2006, Foley served in the Legislature as a Lincoln state senator for six years.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Lincoln will introduce Foley at the Capitol.
State Sens. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, Beau McCoy of Omaha and Tom Carlson of Holdrege already have entered the Republican gubernatorial race. Pete Ricketts, the 2006 GOP Senate nominee, is planning to join the field later this month.
And the likelihood is more candidates may follow as the Republican scramble grows into a free-for-all in which the nominee could emerge with a minority percentage of the total vote.
Janssen, the early bird, has been campaigning for months.
McCoy, the most recent entry, will kick off his campaign Tuesday with a four-day tour to 15 cities and five telephone town hall meetings.
On the Democratic ballot, former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons and state Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton are competing for their party's nomination.