Taylor Royal, the young Omaha financial adviser who jumped into the political arena last spring when he finished third in the nonpartisan race for mayor of Omaha, will seek the Republican nomination for state treasurer next year.

His candidacy sets the stage for a high-visibility GOP primary contest for a so-called "down-ballot" state office that will pit Royal against state Sen. John Murante of Gretna, who previously entered the race with the endorsement of Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, whom Royal vigorously supported in her successful showdown battle with former state Sen. Heath Mello after Royal was eliminated in the mayoral primary, is expected to endorse Royal for treasurer.

Stothert has described the 27-year-old political newcomer as "a rising star in the Republican Party."

Royal spent about $250,000 that was contributed by his parents during his mayoral campaign and said he will "travel the state in my Jeep and wage a six-figure campaign" for the state office.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg will be term-limited out of office when he completes his second four-year term at the end of next year.

Royal said he would be "an effective steward of taxpayer resources," relying on his skills and experience as a financial adviser at Northwestern Mutual, a financial services and wealth management firm in Omaha.

In the state treasurer's role as trustee for Nebraska 529 college savings plans, Royal said he would work to make sure Nebraska has "one of the best" tax-advantaged plans in the country.

Royal said he would travel the state to "focus on financial literacy and education for youth" so they would be able to center on sound financial principles as they prepare for the future. 

And he said he would "advocate for the taxpayer" as state treasurer, with a focus on property tax reduction and income tax reduction.

Royal is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, earned a master's degree at Southern Methodist University and worked in Dallas at Deloitte Tax LLP before returning to Nebraska. 

"I've always had an interest in government administration," Royal said "and always had a desire to serve the community in some capacity."

"I think my strong financial background lines up with my experience to help me be an advocate for Nebraska taxpayers in the state Capitol. I believe my background is directly related to the office of state treasurer."

Murante will be term-limited out of office at the end of next year as he completes his second term in the Legislature.  

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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