Ex-U.S. comptroller general may make GOP Senate bid
Published 7:55 pm, Thursday, October 20, 2011
David Walker is aware of the comparisons.
But will the two Washington insiders be running on the same Republican line in next year's U.S. Senate race in Connecticut?
Don't bet on it.
"If I run, I'm more likely to run as an independent," Walker said Monday. "Right now, the vast majority of voters don't like either party. They're looking for progress over partisanship."
A former Republican who turned independent 14 years ago, Walker expressed a reluctance to get caught in the middle of an escalating competition between Shays and Linda McMahon for the GOP nomination next year.
Walker, 60, led the U.S. Government Accountability Office, an independent investigative arm of Congress, during his decade-long tenure as comptroller general -- the position is appointed by the president, pending Senate confirmation.
He is the founder of the Comeback America Initiative, an advocacy group for fiscal responsibility based in his adopted hometown of Bridgeport.
"There are many people who believe that I have a unique background needed to address a number of the challenges facing the country and Connecticut," Walker said.
Walker expects to make a decision on his candidacy between early November and the end of January.
"As of now, I'm more likely not to run, but it is still a distinct possibility," Walker said.
Family will factor heavily into the decision, according to Walker, who appeared last month at a Republican clambake in Greenwich along with now-declared candidates Shays, McMahon, Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy and Hartford lawyer Brian K. Hill, a former U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps officer who lives in Windsor.
Walker is also adviser to and former president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a taxation and fiscal policy organization named for the co-founder of the Blackstone Group, an asset management and leverage buyout firm.
Walker knows Shays from his days as comptroller general, a position he was appointed to by President Bill Clinton.
"He ably represented the 4th Congressional District for over 20 years and was a hard-working congressman," Walker said of Shays.
Walker has also met McMahon, the former wrestling executive who was the GOP nominee for Senate in 2010 when she lost to Democrat Richard Blumenthal.
"I think she's obviously got an accomplished business career," Walker said. "She's not a career politician, which I consider a positive. At the same time, she has very high negatives in polling which she would have to overcome."
If Walker does run as an independent and wins the general election, he said he would caucus with whichever party is in the majority in the Senate.
Should he decide to sit the race out, he said he is inclined to support whoever the GOP candidate is.
The Democratic field is led by U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5, followed by former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, state Rep. William Tong of Stamford, Sylvester Salcedo of Orange and Lee Whitnum of Greenwich.
"It could be tough for any Republican to win in Connecticut, but it's possible, especially in 2012," Walker said.
Walker's hypothesis is that widespread resentment of Washington could open the door for an independent like himself.
"There's a huge backlash coming. I can hear it. I can see it. And I can feel it," Walker said. "I'm not a traditional candidate. I have no desire to be a career politician."
Asked if the last owner of his house had left anything behind, Walker acknowledged that folks kid him about the Shays connection.
"Somebody asked me today have I found any skeletons yet. I said, `I've found a lot of issues, but no bones,' " Walker quipped.