Say it ain’t so, Joe?
Joe Visconti, who confounded some fellow Republicans with his petition candidacy for governor in 2014, is exploring a run for the U.S. Senate in 2016.
“There’s no (Republican) bench in Connecticut. I am the bench in Connecticut,” Visconti told Hearst Connecticut Media Friday.
Embracing the Second Amendment and packing a Beretta .380 for part of the campaign last fall, Visconti vowed to stay in the governor’s race to the bitter end, much to the chagrin of the GOP’s second-time nominee Tom Foley. Foley skipped a NBC Connecticut debate with Visconti and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, not wanting to be part of a conservative litmus test. At the 11th-hour, Visconti suspended his campaign, but his name was already on the ballot. He siphoned off 11,456 votes, presumably many of them from Foley.
“There’s going to be people who hate my guts because they’ll blame me for Foley’s loss,” Visconti said.
Visconti, 58, a former West Hartford town councilman and actor, has long maintained that his opposition to the national educational initiative known as Common Core probably took away votes from Malloy, too.
“We stayed in (the race) for a few reasons, one of them was the Common Core issue,” Visconti said. “Botton line, we got out in the end to try to (knock) Malloy out.”
Visconti, who was passed over by Republicans for the party’s endorsement for governor in 2014, said he is reserving the right to run for the Senate as a petition candidate like he did last year.
“Yes, if you put a (Republican In Name Only) up,” he said. “Yes, if put up someone who’s incompetent and unqualified. Yes, if they put up someone who betrays the brand.”
Visconti was responsible for one of the most memorable television ads of the governor’s race, a 30-second YouTube spot showing him riding on the highway in a custom Pontiac Grand Ville convertible with cattle horns protruding from the grill and guns mounted on the vehicle’s side panels.