SIMSBURY – Deluged by questions about a run for Congress, William A. Petit, Jr. said Friday morning that he’s “50-50” on a possible 5th District candidacy.
Appearing at an impromptu press conference before attending a meeting of male community leaders about domestic violence, Petit said friends and Republicans have been urging him to take on U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who is in her first term.
“If I decide to run for Congress I will be happy to be speak to all of you, but I’d like to focus our attention on domestic violence today,” said Petit, who appeared relaxed and comfortable with questions about his possible candidacy.
Petit, who remarried last year, has a child due in two months and said that was a big factor in his deliberations. “Just married a year and a new baby on the way in about 8 weeks, so that’s a big issue,” he said. Petit said he has no timetable for his decision, “much to my wife’s chagrin”
The lone surivivor in the infamous Cheshire home invasion of 2007 where his wife and two daughters were murdered, Petit is a well-known and revered figure in Connecticut. Since the murders and subsequent trial he has been a high-profile opponent of the General Assembly’s decision to repeal the death penalty.
“I’ve spoken to one congressman not from this state,” he said when asked whether national party leaders were recruiting him. He said “some local friends” have been urging him to run.
Petit’s supporters say he has expressed surprise at the length of time and money it takes to mount a serious bid for Congress.
If he does mount a run for the Republican nomination, he will have to face Litchfield County businessman Mark Greenberg.
“I hear he is a very nice man. I don’t know him personally,” Petit said. “I know he has been campaigning hard for a long time.”
Petit’s informal press conference on Friday also gave him a taste of what lies ahead if he chooses to run. He was asked for a quick opinion on the Republican strategy in the wake of the government shutdown and fight over Obamacare.
“I think it’s a complex issue. I think if you believe in smaller government and less spending you have to stand your ground and try to do what you can to have a position to negotiate from,” Petit said.
“Unfortunately that’s been the only negotiating position [Republicans] have been able to have to slow down spending.”
Petit, a physician, he was also asked his view on the Affordable Care Act. “I think there’s a lot of problems with it. I think it’s a complex issue and probably needs a little more thought.”
Asked if he realizes how much time and energy it would take to run for Congress, he said, ” that’s why I didn’t [immediately] jump in.”