After three decades of covering politicians for television news, former WBZ anchorman Joe Shortsleeve says he is considering becoming a politician himself.
Shortsleeve, 60, said he is looking into running for the seat state Sen. James Timilty, D-Walpole, is vacating to become the Norfolk County Treasurer.
A Medfield resident with three children, Shortsleeve said when he left Channel 4 and joined the consulting firm Liberty Square Group, he started thinking he might want to get involved in politics and government.
“I thought that may be something I want to do some day,” he said, adding later, “I’ve always been fascinated with the process and the people.”
If he does run, Shortsleeve acknowledges he will have to explain to Democratic primary voters why he voted for Republican Donald Trump for president.
A videotape has been making its way among party activists of Shortsleeve on New England Cable News explaining his support for Trump.
Shortsleeve said Friday that there were three candidates in the presidential race, and all three had shortcomings. The field included Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Libertarian Gary Johnson.
Going with Trump, he said, was a “pocketbook decision.”
The Democratic Party, he said, has left behind some voters most concerned about the economy and jobs. Many of them voted for Trump, he said. Some supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.
“We lost their trust. We need to get it back,” he said.
Shortsleeve said Trump did well in the Timilty district, so some voters will understand his reasoning.
He said he honestly doesn’t know whether hardcore Democrats who tend to vote in primaries will accept it.
“I am who I am,” he said.
He described himself as liberal on social issues, calling himself pro-choice and pro-gay rights, but conservative on economic and fiscal issues such as taxes.
Shortsleeve considers himself similar to Timilty in many ways. He also said he would have never run against Timilty because he likes him and thinks he has done a good job.
A decision on whether to run could be about 10 days away, he said.
Timilty has not yet officially resigned and a date for the special election has not been declared.
Two Democrats have already said they are definitely in. They are Paul Feeney, a former Foxboro selectman, and Ted Philips of Sharon, an aide to Rep. Louis Kafka, D-Stoughton.
At least three Republicans have expressed an interest in running, but have not formally declared. They are state Reps. Jay Barrows, R-Mansfield, and Steven Howitt, R-Seekonk, and former Walpole Selectman Michael Berry.
The district includes half of Attleboro, parts of Sharon and all of Seekonk, Rehoboth, Norton, Mansfield, Foxboro, Walpole and Medfield.