Shays coy on future political plans, including 2012 Senate prospects
Updated 6:35 pm, Wednesday, May 18, 2011
You won't exactly find his resume on Monster.com.
Among the ranks of the unemployed later this year will be none other than former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.
But for how long?
Shays, 65, doing little to dispel mounting speculation about his return to the political arena, wouldn't say Monday whether he has his sights set on his old 4th District seat or the Senate in 2012.
A fixture in the House of Representatives from 1987 to 2008, Shays is now co-chairman of a special commission created by Congress to look into military contracting.
"The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan is finishing up its work this summer, and I am looking at a lot of opportunities," Shays said in an interview Monday.
Shays lost his seat of 21 years in 2008 to Greenwich Democrat Jim Himes, who is currently serving his second term. During Shays' final term he was the lone New England Republican in the House. After losing the 2008 race, he moved to St. Michaels, Md., and eventually sold his home in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport.
In 2010, Shays flirted with a potential candidacy for governor, only to decide that it was too expensive a proposition. He and his wife, Betsi, own a condominium in Bridgeport, which they bought at the time he was debating whether to seek the state's highest office.
State GOP Chairman Christopher Healy said he wasn't privy to Shays' political plans at this time.
"Obviously, he would be more than formidable if he did run," Healy said.
Himes, who garnered 23,000 more votes than Shays in Bridgeport, declined to comment through his spokeswoman.
Among the theories being bandied about in some political circles is that Shays could seek the seat of U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., who is retiring at the end of 2012.
A number of Democrats have already thrown their hats into the ring, including U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and state Rep. William Tong, D-Stamford.
"I'm not surprised to hear that Chris Shays wants to come back to Connecticut and run for something," said Nancy DiNardo, the state Democratic chairwoman. "I feel that the Democratic Party has strong candidates with proven track records who will be victorious in 2012."
DiNardo said that the residency issue for Shays could be a deal-breaker, even within his own party.
"I think the fact that he's not living in the state right now may work against him in the Republican Party," DiNardo said.
Healy said Shays has the requisite name recognition.
"He knows that he has to make a decision pretty soon," Healy said. "I think he'd be an effective candidate for any office. It's just a question of what he wants to do."
Staff writer Neil Vigdor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 203-625-4436.