Room for one more in the Nebraska governor's race?
Omaha tax attorney Bryan Slone seems to think so. The Republican gave all indications Tuesday that he plans to enter an already crowded field when he announced his official retirement from Deloitte Tax.
Slone, 56, would be the sixth Republican in the race. In addition, two Democrats are running.
“Though it was a hard decision, I have decided to retire from Deloitte in order to devote my full attention to potentially pursuing elective office on behalf of the people of Nebraska,” Slone said in a short written statement.
“Once Leslie (his wife) and I make a decision, we will have an announcement for the media. We have no further statement to make at this time.”
Slone's likely entry into the race comes after many observers had assumed that the field was set and that it was too late for anyone else to jump into the race. In six months, voters will choose each party's respective nominee in the May primary.
It is the latest twist in a governor's race that has seen its share of surprises, including two potential front-runners' decisions to get out of the race.
Originally, former State Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk was expected to be a top contender, but he pulled his name from consideration after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Then former Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy dropped his bid after questions were raised about phone calls he had made to several women on a state-issued cellphone.
A third hopeful, Falls City businessman Charles Herbster, also dropped out, citing his wife's health. His departure prompted State Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha to immediately jump into the race, and Herbster not only gave McCoy his endorsement but he also donated more than $800,000 in campaign assets to McCoy's campaign.
Slone has worked most of his life in the private sector, but he has government experience, including with former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub.
Slone served for one year as a top tax adviser to Daub when the Republican was a member of Congress and served on the House Ways and Means Committee.
In addition, Slone worked for two years as top legal counsel for the IRS commissioner during President Ronald Reagan's administration, from 1987 to 1988.
Until now, Slone has been a managing partner at Deloitte Tax's Omaha office. The firm is one of the world's largest accounting and tax preparation companies. Slone has worked there for 16 years.
The other Republicans in the race: McCoy, State Auditor Mike Foley, Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts and State Sens. Charlie Janssen and Tom Carlson.
The Democrats: State Sen. Annette Dubas and Chuck Hassebrook, a former member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.