He speaks in sober and serious tones and presents himself as a common-sense family man. When asked about his family life by one interviewer, he said his “kids are all grown and gone” and added that nowadays, “I’m thinking about my grandkids” in battles he takes on.
But his family life has been rocky. He has been married four times and estranged for more than two decades from two adult children, and he does not know their children, family members said. (He also has two stepchildren.)
He talks frequently about his experience as a police officer and firefighter in Kalamazoo, Mich. But personnel records obtained from that city’s Department of Public Safety, which he left in 1999, include this note in his file from him: “Retired, poor rating, would not rehire.” A department spokesman declined to comment.
Mr. Finchem has raised more than $1.2 million, a considerable amount for a campaign for secretary of state. (Mr. Lane has raised about $1.1 million, while the other two candidates trail significantly behind.) Much of the money has come from out of state — seven of the eight donors who were listed as having donated the $5,300 maximum in his last two campaign filings were from elsewhere. Major donors include Brian T. Kennedy, a past president of the right-wing Claremont Institute, and Michael Marsicano, a former mayor of Hazleton, Pa., who recently lost a Republican congressional primary.
For all that, he has few visible signs of a staff or campaign office. About three-quarters of his expenditures, more than $750,000, have flowed to a Florida political consulting firm run by Spence Rogers, the nephew of Wendy Rogers, an Arizona lawmaker with ties to white nationalists, campaign filings show. A further $53,000, or nearly 5 percent of his total expenditures, have gone to payments to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. (Many other Trump-backed candidates have done likewise, including Kari Lake, Mr. Trump’s favored candidate for Arizona governor, whose campaign has spent more than $100,000 at Mar-a-Lago.)