Former Rep. Christopher Shays is set to face Linda McMahon in the 2012 Senate GOP primary in Connecticut, and he has the support of McMahons opponent in her first GOP primary last year.
Shays predicted he’ll need to raise $6 million to $10 million for his entire Senate campaign. But there’s another financial issue he might have to tackle in the meantime: $280,000 in debt from his 2008 loss to now-Rep. Jim Himes (D).
Shays’ former campaign manager, Michael Sohn, embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the former Congressman during his previous race. Shays says that the current debt is from legal expenses related to Sohn, who is serving a 37-month prison sentence.
Shays plans to petition the Federal Election Commission to allow him to raise money to pay off half of the remaining debt, then move the balance to creditors for Sohn to pay off.
He plans to separately fundraise for his Senate race and his House campaign debt.
Republicans realize the Connecticut Senate seat will be a tough race to win in 2012, and polls show that other Senate races could be easier ways for the GOP to win the three seats needed to gain the majority. Roll Call rates the Connecticut contest as Likely Democratic.
Rep. Christopher Murphy, former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz and state Rep. William Tong are running for the Democratic nomination.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.