Republicans step up recruitment of Frantz for Senate 2012
GREENWICH -- A push to recruit Republican L. Scott Frantz of Greenwich to run for U.S. Senate in 2012 is going viral, with supporters of the politically well-connected and deep-pocketed state lawmaker promoting him on a new website as a fresh alternative to a stable of GOP old guard candidates.
Launched about a month ago, www.draftfrantz.com features an online petition, which those behind the website hope to get 1,000 people to sign.
Frantz, 50, who is in his second term as a state senator representing Greenwich and parts of Stamford and New Canaan, isn't ruling out the possibility.
"I don't think it's good for anybody in the business of public service to rule out any call to serve in a different capacity or a higher capacity," Frantz told Greenwich Time.
While he isn't closing the door to jumping into the race for what will be the open seat of retiring incumbent Joe Lieberman, Frantz said he won't be walking through it anytime soon.
"I have no plans to run for the U.S. Senate," said Frantz, who saw a template for the website, but doesn't count himself as a regular visitor.
Garrett denied that he runs the website, but did say that he was one of the first people to discover it and strongly backs Frantz for higher office.
"You're going to need a can-do individual, a person who is not afraid of challenges and a guy who understands economics, and he does," Garrett said.
Garrett added that even discriminating tea party members have taken a shine to Frantz, whom he described as an adventurer, climbing most of Mount Everest and competing in sailing races.
"This is what I like about the guy," Garrett said. "He is man of action. I like the cut of his jib."
Shortly after concluding the interview with Garrett, an anonymous message from the website's creator was received by Greenwich Time, with the person saying they would entertain questions by e-mail. An inquiry was made using that address.
Frantz's name is one of 16 to appear on an online survey being conducted by the state GOP and includes fellow Greenwich residents Linda McMahon and Tom Foley, who ran unsuccessfully last year for U.S. Senate and governor, respectively.
"Would he viable? Would he be qualified, sure?" state GOP Chairman Christopher Healy said of Frantz. "He's got a great future ahead of him whether he wants to continue to be a state senator or do something else. Obviously, it's going to be something that he has to decide."
Top Republicans in Greenwich characterized Frantz a voice for fiscal sanity who has the right temperament to be effective in the Senate.
"Scott doesn't really talk negatively about other people," said Jim Campbell, chairman of the Republican Town Committee. "He doesn't think that way or communicate that way. He's also a stalwart fiscal conservative and understands the importance of reining in spending and easing the tax burden and the regulatory burden on business if we're going to grow business here in Connecticut."
A prolific GOP fundraiser and venture capitalist who hosted George W. Bush at his Riverside home when he was president, Frantz has been active in state affairs, serving as board chairman of both Bradley International Airport near Hartford and the Connecticut Development Authority.
"It seems like (the Republicans) are always looking for candidates who can self-fund their races," said Nancy DiNardo, the state Democratic chairwoman. "I'm very confident with our field of candidates and potential candidates that they will be able to raise the money, and whoever our Democratic candidate is will prevail in 2012."
In 2007, Frantz, who is married with four children, won the Prescott Bush Award, the state GOP's highest honor named for the late Connecticut senator and former president's grandfather, a Greenwich resident.
"I think Scott would make an outstanding United States senator," said Edward Dadakis, a Greenwich RTC member and former town party chairman. "In the first two years in Hartford, he has truly distinguished himself as a leader who is looked up to by not only Republicans but Democrats as well. He is smart, financially reasonable and is liked by everyone who comes into contact with him. I think he could usher in a new era of politics in Washington."
Frantz denied that his political plans are tied to those of former Massachusetts Gov. and presumptive GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, as some party members have speculated.
A member of Romney's statewide finance committee, Frantz hosted Romney at his home during his 2008 presidential bid.
"Absolutely no plans, whatsoever," Frantz said. "However, from a campaign point of view, I will be supporting him wholeheartedly. I will be doing everything I can to help him achieve success and help balance out the direction that the country has taken, which, from a fiscal point of view, is incredibly dangerous for all Americans."