Walker, who is perhaps best known for traveling the country warning of the country’s impending fiscal doom (he was profiled on CBS’s “60 Minutes” in 2007 predicting the financial crisis), would run for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) seat.
Walker was asked early Thursday on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” if he was weighing a run as an independent, and he confirmed that he is interested in the seat. But sources say he is in fact looking at running as a Republican, not an independent, and add that he is in fact likely to make a bid.
A third source, outgoing Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy, confirmed he had spoken with Walker about the possibility of running. “I know he’s thinking about it,” Healy said. “It would not surprise me. Obviously, he’s a very sharp guy.”
Walker served as Comptroller General and head of the Government Accountability Office for 10 years, before moving on to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in 2008 and now his own “Comeback America Initiative”. In all three roles, he has been traveling the country speaking on the need for the country to make tough choices to climb out of its financial hole.
Such a message would seem to fit quite nicely into a Republican primary — especially with the tea party pushing the GOP to rein in spending and entitlements at the federal level.
At the same time, Walker is a registered independent and will likely have to prove his conservative bona fides. And while his attitude towards spending cuts may be popular in a Republican primary, he has also advocated tax hikes in order to close the deficit, a proposal likely to be met with less excitement among the GOP rank and file.
Still, Republicans in Washington and Connecticut see Walker as a compelling candidate in the race — particularly in such a blue state where a more traditional Republican might struggle.
But getting to the general election may not be easy. Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon, who lost as the GOP nominee in an open seat Senate races in 2010, is making moves to run again; Healy said he expects to have an answer “within a month” from McMahon.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Chris Murphy and former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz are vying for their party’s nomination and either one would likely be favored in the general election due to Connecticut’s Democratic tilt.
It should be noted that this wouldn’t be the first time someone who had a claim on predicting the financial crisis has run in a GOP Senate primary in Connecticut. Peter Schiff, a Ron Paul-like Republican who had his own claim on predicting the recession, flamed out early in the 2010 GOP primary.
Republicans expect more from Walker if he runs, though it remains to be seen if he can raise the money he needs — particularly if he runs against McMahon, who self-funded $50 million for her last campaign.
“There’s always the issue of infrastructure and fundraising; you need to have all those things aside from just a desire to do it,” Healy said. “Whether he’s able to do that remains to be seen, but he’s obviously qualified.”