CTNJ file photo
Joe Visconti (CTNJ file photo)

Joe Visconti, who shook up the 2014 gubernatorial contest by petitioning his way onto the ballot, announced Wednesday that he’s exploring a run against U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

“The political ambitions of the Democrat Party and Senator Richard Blumenthal are on a collision course with their fiscal delusions, failures and lies for which we are forced to pay,” Visconti said. “From increased reckless spending, to subsidizing   Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear warhead, to infringing on our Second Amendment right for self-defense, Richard Blumenthal and the Democrat Party’s agenda is unsafe at any speed.”

Visconti, a contractor from West Hartford who served one term on the town council, has largely remained out of the political spotlight since dropping out the governor’s race the weekend before the 2014 election and endorsing Republican Tom Foley. Visconti remained on the ballot and received about 11,000 votes, but he didn’t play the role of spoiler because it wasn’t enough to hand Foley the election.

Visconti’s motives for exploring a U.S. Senate run aren’t completely selfish. Visconti said he wants to test the waters “to discover whether the Connecticut Republican Party will field a full slate of state representative and state senate” candidates.

August Wolf, a former Olympic shot-putter and bond salesman from Stamford, is the only Republican to announce his intention to seek the nomination. However, Republicans have been pushing CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow to jump in the race.

Kudlow said in November at an event at the Greenwich Public Library that he was seriously considering challenging Blumenthal. And just this past Sunday he told radio host John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on New York’s AM 970 that he’s been thinking about it for the “past five or six months.”

“I can’t announce it today, there are all kinds of legal and financial ramifications, but I can only tell you as a friend … that Judy and I are looking at it very carefully,” Kudlow said.

Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon challenged Blumenthal in 2010 in what was one of the most expensive Senate races in the country that year. McMahon spent $50 million and lost by 11 points. She would try again in 2012 with virtually the same results.

Last week, Blumenthal announced that he hired Conor Hurley to manage his campaign. Hurley recently helped Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin defeat Pedro Segarra to win his first term.

Blumenthal has raised about $3.2 million through the end of September and Wolf has raised about $344,000 through that same time period, according to the Federal Elections Commission.