Willis running for majority leader
Two years ago, when Roraback mulled a run for attorney general, Willis made it clear that she might take a stab at Roraback’s 30th district Senate seat. But, when Roraback bowed out — he had just become a father for the first time — Willis (D-Torrington) announced that she would not challenge her long-time colleague.
This year, Roraback is on the long list of candidates running for Chris Murphy’s 5th district Congressional seat, which he is vacating for a chance to run for U.S. Senate.
But, while she said the idea of running for Senate was “intriguing,” the prospect of being a freshman senator, “starting from scratch,” as she put it, didn’t appeal.
Instead, she’ll seek to replace Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) as House majority leader.
“There are incentives to being in the Senate,” she said. “You do have a greater voice, so to speak.” But as majority leader, she would “have involvement in a wide range of issues.”
Willis, a 7-term Democrat, is not on a field by herself. Two other Democrats, Waterbury’s Jeffrey Berger and Southington’s Joe Aresimowicz, who is currently deputy speaker, will also be in the running.
As to her chances, Willis said they are “as good as anybody’s.”
Willis had nothing but good things to say about the current majority leader, calling Sharkey “capable, smart and deliberate,” and suggesting that he, too, may be up for a promotion.
“He’s probably going to be our next speaker,” she said. If so, Sharkey would replace current Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, who, like Roraback, is running for the 5th Congressional district this year.
Of course, the House majority leader is chosen by the members of the house — the election is scheduled for Nov. 8 — and, first, Democrats must retain a majority, which Willis said was a likelihood.
“I actually think we could be picking up some seats,” she said.