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One of four GOP hopefuls drops out of Idaho Secretary of State race

After six months of campaigning, Chad Houck announced Friday he's withdrawing from the GOP primary race to spend more time with his family.

BOISE, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press

Chad Houck, chief deputy Idaho secretary of state, announced Friday that he’s withdrawing from the crowded GOP primary field of candidates for Idaho’s next secretary of state.

Houck said after six months of campaigning, he concluded he’d leave the race to spend more time with his family.

“I have two children at key times in their lives, finishing high school and heading to college in the next 18 months,” he said. “I’m not willing to miss what time I have left by being on the campaign trail.”

Others also in the race include Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane; current state Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene; and current state Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley. All are Republicans; no Democratic hopefuls have yet announced. Houck said he doesn't plan to endorse in the race.

Current Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has indicated he won’t seek a third term. He’s said he wouldn’t endorse any candidate in the Republican primary to succeed him, but his wife, Donna Denney, was Houck’s campaign treasurer.

Souza’s campaign treasurer is former state Treasurer Ron Crane. McGrane’s is former longtime state Rep. Maxine Bell, and his campaign chairman is former longtime Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa.

Houck has been chief deputy for the past two years and has been with the office for six years. A former information technology consultant, he recently completed a master’s degree in homeland security studies.

On Friday, he said in a news release, “Under the leadership of Secretary Denney, we secured the funding from state and federal sources to dramatically improve our cybersecurity posture, fully modernize the office in both our corporate and elections missions over the past six years and build an incredible team. But there are still things that need to be done, tools to be developed, that I can’t do from inside the Statehouse.”

Houck first joined the Idaho Secretary of State’s office as a contractor, becoming a deputy secretary of state in 2016.

The Idaho Capital Sun reported on Dec. 10 that Houck was trailing the other three candidates in fundraising thus far, with McGrane leading the pack with more than $65,000 in campaign contributions; Souza at $47,000 and Moon at $47,500. Houck at that point had reported only a $5,000 loan from his own funds.

Since then, McGrane has reported another $2,500 contribution from Stimson Lumber; Moon has reported two $1,000 contributions from individuals in Idaho; and Souza and Houck have had no additional reports.

Candidates aren’t required to file full campaign finance reports until January; the Capital Sun compiled those figures from reports candidates must file within 48 hours of receiving any single contribution of $1,000 or more.

Souza reported transferring $4,800 from her Senate campaign account, and received $5,000 from Brent Regan of Coeur d’Alene, board chair of the Idaho Freedom Foundation; $1,000 from the Coeur d'Alene Tribe; $2,500 from Idaho Forest Group and several contributions from individuals in North Idaho.

Moon’s notable contributions include $5,000 of her own money and $5,000 from Doyle Beck of Idaho Falls.

McGrane’s include $1,000 from House Majority Caucus Chair Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, along with numerous contributions from individuals and companies and some from natural resource- or timber-related PACs.

The primary election is set for May 17, 2022, with the general election following on Nov. 8, 2022.

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Pressread more on idahopress.com.

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