Peter Schiff, the broker, author and financial pundit from Weston who has already taken in more than $1 million in campaign contributions and hired a staff, is expected to announce on national television this morning that he is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Christopher Dodd.
Schiff supporters throughout the nation have been pushing his candidacy since at least January, but he said he would not enter the race unless he had raised $1 million, a threshold he crossed earlier this month. Schiff is scheduled to appear on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show at 8:15 a.m. today.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul's presidential effort, will run as a Republican. But he is a libertarian at heart who believes that government has grown too big - and too expensive - and that the U.S. is facing financial catastrophe unless the federal government radically changes course.
" Connecticut Republicans can be the first to elect a real Republican," Schiff said. "Republicans talk about shrinking government; I want to shrink it substantially."
He would be the fifth Republican candidate to enter the race: State Sen. Sam Caligiuri of Waterbury, former U.S. ambassador Tom Foley, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon and former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons are also seeking the nomination.
In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Schiff, who had just returned from an economic conference in Poland, acknowledged that he already has a lot on his plate. He runs a brokerage firm, Euro Pacific Capital; he is about to launch a new company; and a new edition of his book "Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit From the Economic Collapse," is coming out in two weeks.
"The career politicians are retired and they'll be able to devote 100 percent of their attention to [campaigning]," he said.
Unlike McMahon, who announced Wednesday that she is stepping aside as CEO of the WWE to run, Schiff does not plan to quit his job should he enter the race.
Schiff said the fact that the Republican field is crowded is a plus for him. He also predicted that he would receive a boost from McMahon's candidacy. "She's going to be able to spend a lot of money criticizing Simmons, so I won't have to do it," he said. "What sells Linda McMahon sells me."
Hours before Schiff's scheduled television appearance, state Democratic officials sent an e-mail criticizing him.
"Despite his groupie-like following, Schiff actually has few qualifications to run for the Senate and has publicly admitted that he can't even remember the last time he voted," party spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan said. "Schiff's followers praise him for his predictions on the economy, but despite the fact that Schiff proudly advised investors to bet against the U.S., they still lost record sums of money."
Schiff said running for Senate was never his life's ambition.
"I'm not doing this for a job," he said. "I have a much better job in the private sector."
But he also said he cannot stand by and watch the U.S. economy implode.
"I'm watching this train wreck in slow motion," he said. "I know how bad things are going to get in this country. ... As an American and as a father, do I really want to just watch it happen?"