(CNN) – Chris Shays, a former Republican congressman who lost his Connecticut seat to a Democrat in 2008, announced Wednesday he was challenging wrestling executive Linda McMahon in a GOP primary for the Senate seat opening up in the state.
Speaking in Hartford, Shays said the 2012 election was too important to send a political novice to Washington.
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"We can't afford to send someone to the United States Senate who doesn't have the experience and a proven record of getting things done in Washington," Shays said, according prepared remarks. "There is no time for on-the-job training. We need someone who is ready on day one."
Shays represented Connecticut in the House for 22 years, beginning in 1987. For at least one session of Congress, he was the only Republican member representing New England. He was defeated in 2008 by Democratic Rep. Jim Hines.
Shays will compete with McMahon to run for the seat now held by retiring independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman. McMahon previously ran for Senate in 2010, when she spent tens of millions of dollars on an unsuccessful bid against Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
McMahon announced she was running for the Republican spot in September. She is the wife of Vince McMahon, the chairman of the professional wrestling organization WWE and a former professional wrestler himself. Linda McMahon served as president and CEO of the company until she launched her first bid for Senate in 2009.
In his announcement, Shays struck upon anger many Americans feel toward Congress, saying he would work to change a system in which little seems to get done.
"So many Americans have lost their jobs and are losing their homes," Shays said. "I cannot, and will not, sit on the sidelines and watch this happen. The madness in Washington cannot continue. Washington is broken, the Senate isn't working. Nothing is getting done."
A statement from McMahon Communications Director Erin Isaac framed the race as a contest between a Washington insider and a reformer from the outside.
"For nearly 20 years, Chris Shays represented the people of Connecticut's 4th district in the United States Congress," Isaac said. "But in 2012, we need to elect people committed to changing not only the negative political culture, but the ineffective way Washington does business. Linda comes from the business world. She has known failure and success and will take a different perspective to Washington – a perspective desperately needed."
none of the Republican idiots are worth the time...
Good luck Mr. Shay, we need to take our country back.
Yep – better to send in someone that already knows how to obstruct all progress for this country.
Come on Connecticut, you all can do better than Shays or McMahon.
another moderate.... thats good.. sick and tired of the far right and left...
McMahon became rich enough to buy her way into politics on the blood and suffering of others. Maybe she can pump some more steroids into her campaign this time.
Wait. Give her a chance to form the Government Wrestling Federation!!!
C'mon Connecticut !!! THINK !! THINK !! If You Guys don't get a Democrat elected, this country will be in chaos, I'm afraid. Ask yourselves the question : do you guys want an OWS type of people occupying your streets ? Do you guys want to take up 2 or 3 million signatures to get the bum OUT, after you guys failed to VOTE ?? ( don't forget what they have been trying to do in Wisconsin) ( and still can't get him OUT )
Larry in Houston
yeah like he will get anything done. He does no how to say No which seems to be the only requirement to be a repo member of congress. Vote all the repos out if you want to see this country move forward.
Shays is a flip flopper. he first supported Bush's war of choice in Iraq and then when it turned bad he denounced it. He does not deserve to be elected.
And that's his impetus to run? He's better? But isn't he part of the "more of the same" gang?
@GI Joe, I think you may be onto something in your comment.
@Kat, who took your country? Yes that's right. GW Bush. He took it and gave it to the wealthy. See you just didn't know it and when the cookies started crumbling, Fox trained you on how to say it's President Obama's fault. It's people like Shay's and MacMahon's fault.
He is a very decent guy except that he is in a party of rightwing sharks. The GOP in the Senate would never tolerate him.
as a long time wrestling fan, i am very familiar with linda mcmahon and i like her very much. i have no doubt about her sincerity in wanting to help make things great again.
as a fan of elections i am forced to agree with christopher shays when he says that there is no room for 'on-the-job training when it comes to holding public office. They must be familiar with how the system works so they can deliver the results the people of this country and their states need.
as a liberal democrat, it doesn't matter who gets the GOP nod. Democrats are going to recapture this seat.
So send back someone who's been part of the problem since 1987?