If Massachusetts Republicans need a candidate who can keep pitching even while injured, then they may have the man to run against Elizabeth Warren in two years. Curt Schilling, a hero in Boston for his gutsy performance in a 2004 playoff game in spite of a bloodied ankle, announced in a radio interview today that he’ll run for Warren’s Senate seat in 2018. All he needs is his wife’s approval … and a boatload of money and good fortune:
Former Red Sox star and 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling said Tuesday he’s made up his mind to run against Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018, but still needs to win approval from his wife.
“I’ve made my decision. I’m going to run,” Schilling said during an interview on WPRO-AM. “But – but – I haven’t talked to Shonda, my wife. And ultimately it’s going to come down to how her and I feel this would affect our marriage and our kids.”
One might wonder whether Schilling should have checked in with his wife first. It might look a little foolish later if she vetoes the proposal, and Schilling has to walk it back later. But then again, Schilling is known for his extemporaneous and politically incorrect commentary. His willingness to say whatever is on his mind on the air and on social media let to his firing at ESPN, although Schilling argued rather convincingly that his real sin at ESPN was being a conservative.
Schilling might have a fight to get out of the minors, though. Three weeks ago, an Amherst poll tested potential challengers to Warren, and Schilling came in last of the three despite his high name recognition:
Senator Warren would face an easy re-election in 2018 if former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling follows through on his musings about challenging her, with a 19-point margin.
But check out these warning signs for Warren.
Our poll shows her beating Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito by just four points, and defeating former Governor Bill Weld by just three, both results within our poll’s 4.1 percent margin of error.
Schilling has another issue that makes him vulnerable as well:
Schilling made the comments during an extended interview with WPRO host John DePetro, during which he fielded call-in questions from Rhode Islanders for the first time about the collapse of his video-game company, 38 Studios, which received a $75-million taxpayer-backed loan in 2010. The firm’s bankruptcy two years later left taxpayers on the hook for roughly $90 million.
That’s not going to be a good look no matter how bloody Schilling’s ankle got in 2004. Seven months ago, the SEC filed charges against Wells Fargo, a Rhode Island state agency, and executives from both entities for misleading regulators and investors. Schilling didn’t get named in the actions, but that won’t matter a whit if he runs against Warren and the Democratic machine.
Without a doubt, Schilling is an entertaining and fascinating figure in the way-too-politically-correct world of sports. But after this cycle, Republicans might be wary of celebrity candidates, especially those who come to races with baggage. Thanks to Charlie Baker’s continuing popularity in Massachusetts, perhaps Republicans should instead take a closer look at his lieutenant governor, who is already competitive in the race.