Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood has made it official. He’s running for governor.
Flood formally kicked off his campaign at the Divots Conference Center in his hometown of Norfolk, telling the crowd that there were a lot of days during his last session in the legislature when he didn’t know if he had an interest in going forward with his political career.
“I traveled 27,000 miles to find out. This feels right. It is right. I’m a candidate for governor,” Flood said to applause from a gathering of about 300.
Flood emphasized legislative accomplishments during his speech, highlighting the Unicameral’s balancing of the state budget during an economic downturn, passage of a tax cut package, preservation of the death penalty, approval of pro-life legislation and compromise on the Keystone XL pipeline during a special session.
Flood joked during his speech that he toyed with a number of campaign themes, such as “Don’t dam(n) the system, vote for Flood” or “In a drought, you need a Flood”.
After his speech, he told reporters that his campaign theme will focus on reducing spending, lowering taxes, developing the workforce and improving Nebraska’s infrastructure.
Flood is the second announced Republican candidate for governor. Term limits will force Gov. Dave Heineman out of office and his running-mater, Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, has already been raising money for a run to replace his boss. Heineman has announced his support for Sheehy.
Several other Republicans might join the race, including State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, Attorney General Jon Bruning and State Treasurer Don Stenberg.
Flood understands he will likely be one of many in the Republican primary.
“I’m under no illusions. I’ve been a state senator and Speaker. I’ve got work to do,” Flood told reporters. “I need to get out and introduce myself.”
But, for now, two names are already in for the election two years away.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]
AUDIO: Speaker of the Legislature, Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, announces his candidacy for governor. [9:30]