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Fmr. Rep. Chris Shays Announces U.S. Senate Run

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Rep. Christopher Shays speaks at a news conference - Washington, DC - Aug 6, 2008 (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep. Christopher Shays speaks at a news conference – Washington, DC – Aug 6, 2008 (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

HARTFORD, CT (CBSNewYork / AP) - Former Rep. Chris Shays announced Wednesday that is running for Sen. Joe Lieberman‘s seat today.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story

“Seeing, you know, people, literally, without jobs and out of work, I just couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer,” Shays said.

Shays, who spent two decades in the U.S. House representing Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, comes into the race facing a very tough fellow Republican contender.

Linda McMahon is not only super well financed, she’s likely to attract more conservative voters in a primary runoff against Shays.

“Given the fact that Shays has been a moderate and has bucked the Republican party, that’s a turn off to Republican primary voters,” says UConn political professor Ken Dautrich.

But Dautrich and other analysts in Connecticut believe if Shays can win the primary he has a much better chance of defeating the democratic candidate in the general election since he does appeal Connecticut’s independent voters.

They’re gonna choose experience over someone who spent her money so wastefully that they wonder, if she spent her money so wastefully, how are they gonna spend their money?” Shays said of McMahon.

McMahon, in a statement, welcomed Shays to the race.

Shays has so far raised a total of $522,145, which includes $422,145 from donors and a $100,000 loan from Shays and his wife Betsi.

The Democratic field for the seat consists of Rep. Chris Murphy and former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

The primary is in August.

Lieberman is retiring from the U.S. Senate.

Who do you think the nominees will be? Sound off in the comments section below!

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