Larry Kudlow, the conservative economist and CNBC staple, is considering a Senate bid from Connecticut.
The broadcaster tipped his hand on his radio show Saturday, saying he’d challenge Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat up for reelection in 2016, if the first-term incumbent backs President Obama’s nuclear pact with Iran.
Kudlow said the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the political arm for GOP Senators, has already approached him about a bid and shown him polling data.
“I’m not a political guy,” Kudlow told his guest, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), in a development first reported by Roll Call. “I’m an economist. I’m a broadcaster by profession. But I am so angry at this issue, among others.”
Kudlow said terrorists bent on destroying America will ultimately benefit from the deal, since Iran stands to collect as much as $150 billion in unfrozen foreign assets if economic sanctions on the country are lifted. “They’re coming to get us,” Kudlow said, “and Iran will finance them. They are going to finance them! They are coming to get us! This is a big thing! I’m telling you!” And he urged people to rise up against those embracing the deal. “This is a citizen’s militia movement! That’s what I think it is.”
Roskam, himself an outspoken critic of the deal, told him, “Well, Larry, if you’re in, I’m in for you.”
Andrea Bozek, an NRSC spokesperson, declined to discuss any conversations with Kudlow, citing the confidentiality of the committee’s recruitment process. But, she said, “Blumenthal is more vulnerable than people realize.” The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, which handicaps Congressional races, currently rates Blumenthal’s seat as “Safe Democrat,” meaning Republicans face an uphill climb to oust him. Obama carried the state by 18 points in 2012 and by 22 points in 2008. The state hasn’t sent a Republican to the Senate since 1982.
“I may lose,” Blumenthal said Saturday. “It’s a long shot. I’m not a politician. But I’ll take on Blumenthal, if I have to— if I have to. Maybe somebody else will come up.”
Kudlow started his career on a Senate campaign in Connecticut — but as a Democrat, working for a candidate opposed to the Vietnam war. He went on to become an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then joined the Reagan administration’s budget office before taking a job on Wall Street. He’s probably best known as a CNBC regular. Kudlow toyed with challenging then-Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) back in 2009 before announcing he was foregoing a run to stay with the financial news network.