Shoes yet to fall.

Ricketts, Foley, Lathrop, Sasse, a Democratic Senate candidate.

Perhaps even other shoes are walking our way.

Pete Ricketts is taking a serious look at the 2014 GOP gubernatorial race, and one glance will tell you that nomination is up for grabs. 

Ricketts, the Omaha financial executive, 2006 Senate nominee, former Republican national committeeman and — this is the really fun part — co-owner of the Chicago Cubs along with other members of his family, would be an instant big-time player in that contest.

Perhaps the question he may be wrestling with is the fundamental question that ought to be addressed at the end of the decision process: Does he want it?  Really want it?

That's ultimately more important than: Can I win?

It may be the same question Lathrop is confronting now as he decides whether to enter the Democratic gubernatorial fray.

The answer to that first question often will determine the answer to the second. 

In most competitive open races, when there is no incumbent riding atop so many built-in advantages, the evidence suggests a candidate is probably not going to win unless he or she wants it badly enough to give it a full-energy, time-consuming, laser-focused shot.

Mike Foley has an issue to consider beyond that. He and his wife have six children. Does he risk his job to pursue the gubernatorial nomination when re-election as state auditor next year is a lead-pipe cinch?

Midland University President Ben Sasse's decision to embark on a listening tour across the state looks like the initial step toward a GOP Senate bid. 

That Senate contest already is underway, with Shane Osborn off to a quick start.

Osborn has gathered an impressive campaign team and his early funding thrust is fueling a campaign that has left the starting gate. 

A look at the $234,000 he already has raised shows individual contributions from an array of individuals in the financial sector outside of Nebraska, which no doubt reflects Osborn's professional experience in the private sector and as a former Nebraska state treasurer.  

Also in the Republican Senate race is Omaha attorney Bart McLeay, who should bring some fund-raising clout as an attorney at Kutak Rock who has coordinated the work of 140 lawyers in the litigation department of the Omaha-based national law firm.

Democrats don't have a Senate candidate yet and they may be tempted to focus their resources on what would appear to be a more-winnable gubernatorial race, viewing a Senate victory as a far more formidable task in the current political environment.

However, that strategy may carry the risk of freeing Nebraska Republicans in turn to focus their larger pool of resources on the gubernatorial race once the primary season is done.  

That GOP primary field thus far includes state Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, Falls City businessman Charles Herbster and state Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege.

With more to come.

Former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Lathrop's decision on whether to join him is due this month.

For Lathrop, there may be a now-or-never quality to that decision.

Lathrop, 56, will complete his second and final term in the Legislature next year. 

Presumably, there will not be another open governorship for nine years, assuming whoever is elected in 2014 will seek re-election.

And Lathrop has visibility now, a platform as a significant figure in the Legislature, a fund-raising base and a ready opportunity to build some name recognition.  

But this is a personal decision, and that's what should matter most.

Republicans are assured of plenty of attention with sharply contested Senate and gubernatorial primary contests leading into next May. Democrats could be largely ignored until the general election campaign if they don't feature a contested gubernatorial primary.

Count me in the Dave Heineman camp: Contested primaries are good for the parties and they produce stronger, more skilled, more-agile, better-known and battle-ready nominees.

* * *

You are always on my mind.

Democrats are singing the same song once again as they eye Lee Terry's House seat. Terry is on their mind and on their list.

It seems crystal clear that President Barack Obama will not get much of his remaining agenda approved without adding a Democratic House to a Democratic Senate during the final two years of his administration.

That seems out of reach when one takes into account the legislative gerrymandering that has rendered most House seats safe for incumbents. 

With a giant assist from Republican voters in Sarpy County, Terry consistently has fought off Democratic challengers in what certainly looks like a swing congressional district but, in practice, has voted Republican in 10 straight elections.

There have been some close calls, including 2012 when John Ewing chased Terry to the wire. But Terry has been a tough guy to dislodge.

Nevertheless, with the president's legacy on the line, Democrats will try once again.

Finishing up:

* Chuck Hagel, on a tour of U.S. military bases last week: "Readiness is being damaged" by deep and abrupt budget cuts, casting "a very dark cloud" over America's defense posture.

* The Nebraska Federation of Young Republicans has been named the state federation of the year by the national YR federation. 

* Now that Lincoln has proved it can do anything, let's revive the Holiday Parade. We adults are providing for our entertainment big-time, and that's great; now let's give the kids their parade back.

* The sunlit, white, billowy clouds of July are putting on a show this year. Bet the artists have noticed.

* OK, let's go to the big city and see some ball.

Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or