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Report: Connecticut Republicans trying to draft Gretchen Carlson for Senate run

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The Connecticut GOP is reportedly seeking former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson for a 2018 Senate bid. While state Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano didn’t confirm the report, he did say: “She’d be a great candidate. I think she’d be a tremendous asset to the ticket.” (Rich Polk/Getty Images for Variety)

Connecticut Republicans are reportedly trying to woo former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson into launching a 2018 Senate bid.

A GOP source indicated to Hearst Connecticut Media that state Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano is considering Carlson, who last year filed a $20 million sexual harassment lawsuit against ousted Fox Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, to challenge Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy.

Romano hedged when asked about the source’s claim earlier this week, saying the report is “news to me.”

But he added, “She’d be a great candidate. I think she’d be a tremendous asset to the ticket.”

While Carlson’s spokeswoman, Jodi Magid, didn’t confirm the report, she didn’t deny it, either.

“We haven't heard it to be true,” she said.

Carlson, 50, who was a co-host of Fox News'  "Fox and Friends" and later hosted her own Fox show, "The Real Story," became a household name in 2016 after her lawsuit against Ailes, 76, led to his resignation from Fox, the network he helmed for 20 years.

If she did run, Carlson would not the first big-name candidate the Connecticut GOP has drafted. In fact, in two of the last three Senate races, the Republicans nominated wrestling mogul Linda McMahon, who now leads President Donald Trump’s Small Business Administration, to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal  in 2010 and Murphy in 2012.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R), then-head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, also tried — unsuccessfully — to draft CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow, who served as a budget adviser to former President Ronald Reagan, to challenge former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D) in 2010.

Kudlow ultimately declined to run, saying he would rather keep his TV job.

“The Republicans have tried different things,” Ronald Schurin, an associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, told Hearst Connecticut Media. “They tried the Fairfield County multimillionaire or billionaire route, or they tried the celebrity route.

“It seems to me that the Republicans should really focus on their bench, which has been growing stronger as they have increased their numbers in the General Assembly,” he continued. “There are still a number of mayors and first selectmen.”

Since leaving Fox, Carlson has kept up her public persona, engaging in a lot of philanthropic work. She recently established her own charitable organization, the Gift of Courage Fund, to empower girls and young women and help them “realize a safe and nurturing place in the workforce.”

Carlson is scheduled to deliver a couple speeches addressing that topic later this month.

“I would assume she wouldn’t want to give up her promising media career for a long-shot Senate race,” Schurin said.

In February, it was reported that Carlson was in talks to join MSNBC — a claim the network later denied. If Carlson did join MSNBC, she would follow after her former colleague, Greta Van Susteren, who joined the news channel in January.

Former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly joined NBC News around the same time.

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