GOP Idaho state treasurer candidate Tom Kealey has already filed his campaign finance report for 2017, which isn’t due ‘til Jan. 31, and he’s reporting raising a whopping $97,696. Kealey, who with his wife Joy owns the Chicago Connection Restaurant Group and operates seven Treasure Valley restaurants, is a retired CPA with an MBA from Harvard and an accounting and finance degree from the University of Washington; he recently retired after serving more than 14 years on the Idaho Endowment Fund Investment Board.
About $20,000 of Kealey’s campaign fundraising is his own money, but the rest came from 193 individual contributors, almost all of them Idahoans. Asked why people are stepping up to donate to a campaign for a relatively obscure state office, Kealey said, “I think I’ve talked to them about my reasons and they’ve been understanding and supportive. A lot of my supporters are people with financial backgrounds and accounting backgrounds. They know the importance of overseeing billions in investments and assets.”
Plus, he noted, “It’s an open seat,” with current Treasurer Ron Crane retiring after two decades in the post.
Kealey said he’s already traveled to about half of Idaho’s 44 counties, and will set off on the GOP Lincoln Day circuit this evening. A lifelong Republican, he’s also been attending other party meetings and events. In the May 15 GOP primary, Kealey faces Ada County Treasurer Vicky McIntyre.
Kealey said he’s also met with Crane several times, has been doing research on the state’s finances, investments and credit rating, and has attended state financial meetings, including a November meeting of the state’s Credit Enhancement Committee, chaired by Crane, that was the first time that panel had met in five years.
“I’m having fun – it’s exciting, it’s interesting,” Kealey said. “Finance is comfortable and interesting to me – investing, accounting, financial management, those are all interesting. … I like puzzles, I like new things.”
No Democrat has yet announced for the position. A third Republican, Boise investment firm founder Kevin Jones, filed last year to run for the office, but withdrew from the race after Kealey announced.
Among Kealey’s donors of $1,000 or more thus far are Ward Parkinson, George Juetten, Ian Davey, Michael Adcox, Brian Donaldson, Richard Hackborn, Leo Harf, Mark Miller, Catherine Lyons, Winston Moore, and Bradley Wiskirchen of Boise; Doug Carnahan of Meridian; Jack Gustavel of Post Falls; and Harry Bettis of Emmett.