“He’s been recruited,” Petit’s sister Johanna Chapman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “But I think it’s a large decision and he and his wife Christine are going to have to mull it over and decide whether it’s something that they want to do based on the fact that they’re expecting a new baby in the beginning of December.”
On Friday, Petit told reporters he is torn about running for office and has not made a decision.
Experts said Petit’s political views are not widely known, expect for his work against overturning the state’s death penalty.
“I think that that’s something the Republicans will really need because the other approach – finding someone who’s very capable and has a huge, long resume in politics – just didn’t work out for them,” Quinnpiac University political science professor Scott McLean told WCBS 880’s Murnane. “He is someone that can fill in the gaps but what’s important, I think, to the Republicans it finding someone who can immediately resonate with the public.”
Petit campaigned against the repeal of Connecticut’s death penalty after his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and their daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, were killed. The family was held hostage for hours by two paroled burglars and their home set on fire. Petit was beaten, tied up and taken to the basement, but he managed to escape and crawl to a neighbor’s house for help.
Since the murder of his wife and two daughters, Petit has devoted himself to his family foundation, Murnane reported. But Petit has been active on Twitter, posting about political issues including the new federal health care law and the partial government shutdown.
“He’s pretty passionate about the issues and he’s a pretty bright guy, and I think he would be great in office,” Chapman said. “I’m just not sure the timing is right. That’s basically what he said. Some days it seems like a great idea and other days it seems like the worst idea.”
Representatives from the National Republican Congressional Committee flew to Conn. for a meeting on the fifth district race against Democrat Elizabeth Esty, the Hartford Courant reported.
Petit was involved in fundraising for Lisa Wilson-Foley, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for the seat Esty won. Petit’s sister and father each served on the Plainville Town Council in suburban Hartford at different times.
The clock is ticking on next year’s midterm election and if he does enter the race, he’d be feeling pressure to voice opinions on a slew of issues, Murnane reported.
Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said he wasn’t surprised that Petit would consider running for office, noting his heavy involvement in the death penalty debate.
“I think when you see how laws are passed or not passed that sometimes you get a bug in you and you want to continue trying to change society in a way that you feel would help your fellow citizens,” Kissel said. “Even given the personal story that he had, he really did an outstanding job of going through the research, looking at what other states were doing and really presenting a well-balanced argument when he fought for his particular side on that issue, probably evincing some of the meticulousness that a doctor would have,” Kissel said.
Petit is scheduled to attend a news conference Friday in Simsbury with officials to launch a domestic violence awareness campaign.
Chapman said her brother told her he didn’t know if he would run for office.
Petit remarried in 2012 and is expecting a baby.
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