Auditor Janssen Not Running Again, Foley To Seek Old Job

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska State Auditor Charlie Janssen announced Thursday that he won't seek reelection, and he endorsed his predecessor, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, who plans to run for his old office.

Both announcements came in back-to-back interviews on Omaha radio station KFAB. Janssen and Foley, both Republicans, have held their current jobs since 2015.

In a separate interview, Janssen said he plans to remain active in politics as a “free agent” and could run for office in the future. But he said he doesn't have any immediate plans to do so.

“I've been elected for 16 straight years, but I'm by no means saying I'm getting out of it,” said Janssen, of Fremont.

Foley, of Lincoln, confirmed on the radio show that he plans to run for auditor, a job he held from 2007 to 2015. He also served as a state senator from 2001 to 2007.

“I intend to ask the citizens of Nebraska to grant me an additional opportunity for public service,” Foley said in a text message.

Janssen served in the Legislature from 2009 to 2015.

Foley and Janssen both ran for governor in the state's Republican primary, but Janssen dropped out of the race and Foley lost to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who later chose him as a running mate.

As auditor, Janssen worked with lawmakers from both parties to secure additional money to hire five more workers for his office, which tracks state government spending and investigates waste.

He also lobbied successfully for a law that gave the auditor's office subpoeana power, giving auditors better access to financial information. Janssen also took the unusual step of hiring a Democrat, former state Sen. Russ Karpisek, as his top deputy.

Janssen faced criticism in 2018 after an Omaha World-Herald investigation found that he had taken lunches up to three hours long at a Lincoln sports bar, where he drank beer during work hours.

Janssen defended his routine at the time, saying he started his days early and was still productive in the office. On Thursday, he declined to discuss the matter, saying, “I'm looking forward to my future.”

No Democratic candidates have announced plans to run for state auditor.

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