Former Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood of Norfolk said Thursday he will not enter the 2018 gubernatorial race, ending a sudden and brief flurry of political speculation. 

"Right now, I don't feel it's my time," Flood said during a telephone interview.

"Pete Ricketts is a good man and he's going to be re-elected in 2018 and I'm going to continue to remain active in my party and help elect Republicans."

Flood said he continues to be interested in public service and may be a candidate for public office in the future. Flood served in the Legislature from 2005 to 2013.

Speculation that Flood might challenge Ricketts in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary election swept across the political landscape after former Gov. Dave Heineman stated during a Lincoln radio interview that Flood "would make an outstanding governor."

In response, Flood said: "I had a great working relationship with Gov. Heineman and there's no better compliment than to have his confidence for the job of governor."

Flood said he fully intends to "continue to be engaged" politically.

Flood was a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in 2014, but withdrew from the race in December 2012 after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"The good news is our lives have returned to normal," he said, and he now has "an opportunity to re-engage."

"There are so many good things going on in Nebraska right now," he said. "We just need to get the farm economy fixed and then the possibilities are endless." 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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