Friday, April 30, 2010

Candidate for U.S. Senate tours valley

Tom Sullivan, a resident of eastern Idaho, has filed to run against Sen. Mike Crapo

Express Staff Writer

Tom Sullivan, left, a resident of Tetonia, Idaho, speaks with Gini Ballou, chair of the Blaine County Democrats, and Angel Wynne at Tully’s Coffee in Ketchum on Thursday, April 22. Sullivan was in the Wood River Valley to talk about his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Sullivan will be challenging Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, this November. Photo by David N. Seelig

Idaho's senior U.S. senator, Republican Mike Crapo, will face off against a Democratic challenger this November during the general election.

That's a change from 2004, when Crapo had no challengers.

Last week, one of two Democrats hoping to unseat Crapo, eastern Idaho resident Tom Sullivan, arrived in the Wood River Valley as part of a kickoff for his bid to be part of Idaho's four-member congressional delegation.

Sullivan, a resident of the small community of Tetonia and the owner of several businesses in nearby Driggs, met with the public at Tully's Coffee in Ketchum and at the Hailey Coffee Co. He is being challenged in the May 25 primary election by Democrat William Bryk, a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y. According to the Idaho Secretary of State's Office, state law only requires a candidate for U.S. Senate to be a resident of Idaho by the day of the general election.

Growing up, Sullivan lived in Iowa and Florida, before settling in Mountain Home with his family in 1980. He attended Mountain Home Junior High for the eighth grade, and later moved with his family to Priest River where he attended the local high school.

Sullivan has owned several businesses, including Tubs Cafe in Coeur d'Alene and Ivan Financial, a merchant banking business he helped form and still runs.

He's also a partner in the Valley Citizen newspaper in Idaho's Teton Valley and is the owner of a commercial industrial park in Driggs. Sullivan has never previously run for public office.

During an interview in Ketchum on April 22, the 42-year-old entrepreneur said his extensive background as a small business owner will be valuable as a U.S. senator from Idaho. He said Idaho voters should question Crapo's ability, given his leadership during the lead-up to the current economic crisis and his membership on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

"This country has been hit by the equivalent of a financial hurricane over the past two years," Sullivan states in a news release announcing his candidacy. "People are frustrated, and confused, and I sympathize with them. I am running to give the people of Idaho a credible alternative to the status quo.

"If I am elected, I will seek first and foremost to make the federal government responsible and accountable."

Sullivan lives with his wife of 14 years, Kelly, a professional artist and active arts-community leader. He is the father of two children, daughter Aidan, 13, and son Liam, 10. Both children attend school in Teton Valley.

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