Shays: Lone Wolf No More
Former Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., isn't afraid to welcome help this time in his Senate bid.
In his prior House campaigns, Shays had asked the National Republican Congressional Committee not to run ads attacking his Democratic opponents and never ran negative ads himself, ultimately losing to now-Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn. But in his new statewide bid, the former congressman says he welcomes help going on offense from outside groups in 2012.
"If I've got a hundred people shooting at me and I've got some other people that want to help shoot back, praise the Lord," Shays said in an interview with Hotline On Call Friday afternoon.
This time, he says, if he wins the competitive GOP primary, he wouldn't stop the National Republican Senatorial Committee from helping him in his bid, so long as the ads are, in his view, appropriate.
"I want as much help as I can get from anyone," said Shays. "I would hope that whatever help it is constructive, fair to all players -- and if I saw ads that were unfair to my opponent, I certainly would make it clear that I don't think they are appropriate."
Shays' new thinking is a sign of the changing times. In a cycle in which super PACs and other outside groups have a powerful voice in electoral politics following the 2010 Citizens United decision, it's not just the campaign committees that are getting involved. It's a new environment where many different groups can tip the balance in races, which Shays acknowledged.
"If my opponent in the general said, you know what, let's just have it be us, and we could keep it that way that would be perfect," Shays said, before acknowledging that's not the way things work.
"I'm not going to be seeking it out, but I'm certainly not going not going to push anyone away. The stakes are too high," he added.
In terms of his own fundraising, Shays set a goal of raising a million dollars total by the end of the year.
"I clearly need to raise a million," he said, adding that he needs to raise between $4 and $6 million before the GOP primary in August, against former WWE CEO Linda McMahon, his main competitor.