Kip Kirkpatrick Makes It Official: He’s Running for Illinois Treasurer

Kip Kirkpatrick, a co-founder of Water Street Healthcare Partners, this past weekend announced his candidacy for Illinois State Treasurer. He’s running as a Democrat, and will face a serious primary challenger in Robin Kelly, a former state lawmaker and chief of staff to current Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Roland Burris).

In his announcement video, Kirkpatrick said: “In effect, the Treasurer is really the state’s chief investment officer, and that’s why I’m running… We need a Treasurer with a proven track record of smart, responsible investing.”

The issue of responsibility could be key for Kirkpatrick, who is leaving Water Street less than a year after the firm raised $650 million for a new fund. Some LPs have privately groused that he took the money and ran (literally), although Kirkpatrick was not listed as a “key man” on fund documents.

It’s unknown how Kirkpatrick’s Water Street colleagues initially took the news, but they now seem to be strongly supporting his electoral ambitions. Fellow co-founders Jim Connelly and Tim Dugan have each contributed $25,000 to the campaign, while other staffers have chipped in at least a combined $11,000.

Other notable contributors include Joe Nolan of GTCR ($10k), Avy Stein of Willis Stein ($5k) and Jacques Nasser of One Equity Partners ($1k). Wonder if any of the contributors considered that their largesse could preclude their firms from soliciting fund capital from Illinois state pensions, under the SEC’s recent “pay-to-play” proposal…

We’ve put in a call to Kirkpatrick’s office, and hopefully will have a Q&A within the next few days. In the meantime, here is his official announcement: