The long and arduous rebuilding process goes on for Dr. William Petit.
Six years after he was brutally beaten with a baseball bat by two ex-cons in a horrific home invasion in which his wife and two daughters were murdered, Petit is remarried.
He’s going to be a father again this December.
And now the endocrinologist turned victims’ rights advocate is the subject of a quiet recruiting effort by the state Republican Party, which multiple sources tell Hearst Connecticut Newspapers is trying to draft Petit to run for Congress in the 5th District.
“I have had a discussion with Dr. Petit,” said Jerry Labriola Jr., the state GOP chairman. “Beyond that, it’s our policy to not comment on the substance of discussions with prospective candidates.”
Messages seeking comment were left for Petit, who now resides near Hartford in Burlington.
The state GOP is zeroing in on the 5th District, represented by freshman Democrat Elizabeth Esty, heading into the midterm elections of 2014. The district stretches from Danbury to the Farmington River Valley and includes Litchfield County, Meriden and New Britain.
Clearly looking for a candidate with a compelling narrative, Republicans previously tried to recruit Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra to enter the race, but to no avail.
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Petit told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers last December that he was open to speaking with the victims’ families. After the Cheshire home invasion, Petit established the Petit Family Foundation to promote science education for young women and help victims of violence and people with chronic illnesses such a multiple sclerosis, which his wife had.
Petit wouldn’t be the first high-profile crime victim to be on the ballot for Congress.
Before Democrat Carolyn McCarthy was elected to the House, she lost her husband in the 1993 Long Island Railroad shooting, in which her son was also seriously wounded.
Not all Republicans are on board with the recruitment effort, however, including one prominent tea party voice, who characterized it as pandering for votes.
“What does the party want to do, pick a novice who has name recognition for this god awful thing that happened to his family?” said Bob MacGuffie, co-founder of the Fairfield-based political action committee Right Principles, a group affiliated with the tea party movement.