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Nebraska state Sen. Pete Pirsch pointed to his experience as both a lawmaker and an Omaha city prosecutor on Monday as he launched his campaign for state auditor.

Pirsch kicked off a 14-city tour with a formal announcement in his hometown of Omaha. The Republican hopeful is looking to replace current State Auditor Mike Foley, who is ineligible to seek re-election because he is running for governor. Pirsch is the first candidate to declare his candidacy for the open seat.

"First and foremost, I'm running to protect tax dollars from big government mismanagement," said Pirsch, 43. "That's the primary role of the auditor as I see it, and that'll be job No. 1."

Pirsch was first elected to the Legislature in 2006 and is serving his second term. He is ineligible to seek re-election in the 2014 race because of term limits. Pirsch said he chose to run for the auditor's seat because the position was focused on government efficiency and accountability.

Pirsch, an Omaha attorney, began his career as a criminal prosecutor in Douglas County. He earned his law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997 and a master of business administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2005.

The auditor's position "is something where I think I can have a big impact, given my experience and education and interest," Pirsch said. "It's a really important position. I don't know that it's a glamorous position, but it really is one that affects Nebraskans greatly."

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The state auditor has the power to review all of the state's finances, including those of state agencies, boards and commissions. Staff members within the office also conduct routine audits of cities, counties and school districts.

Foley, also a Republican, has clashed with state agencies over the years in his role as the state's public spending watchdog.

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