Baseball legend and outspoken transphobe Curt Schilling is considering a run for Congress in Arizona.
The ultraconservative Schilling, who lost his gig as an ESPN commentator in 2016 over his anti-transgender comments, said that if he runs, it would be as a Republican in one of the state’s districts that currently has a Democratic representative, The Arizona Republic reports. Five of Arizona’s nine seats in the U.S. House are held by Democrats, but Schilling wouldn’t say which one he’d run in. An Arizona native, he now lives in Massachusetts and would have to establish residency in Arizona.
“Not ready to do any of that right now,” he said in an email to the Republic this week. “If/When things solidify I will but right now it’s something in the ‘I’m considering it’ stage.”
“The state is not the state I grew up in,” he added. “Making Arizona citizens of EVERY Race, religion and sexual orientation 2nd class citizens to illegal immigrants is about as anti-American as it gets. When you have homeless veterans, children, and you’re spending tax dollars on people smuggling drugs and children across our border someone in charge needs their ass kicked.”
He had first floated his congressional aspirations in an interview Sunday with a right-wing radio host in Arizona. “I haven’t said anything publicly, but I’m considering going back to Arizona and running for a congressional seat, one of the blue ones,” he told Mark Walters on Armed American Radio. “It’s something that my wife and I have talked about, and she’s now becoming more and more pumped at the potential. Obviously, we’re still quite a few discussions away, but yeah, it’s something we’re absolutely considering.”
Schilling is a major supporter of Donald Trump, who tweeted his approval of the retired pitcher’s ambitions:
Schilling was a postseason hero with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 and the Boston Red Sox in 2004. He famously won the sixth game of the American League Championship Series for the Red Sox over the New York Yankees in 2004 while bleeding into one of his socks from sutures on his ankle. The blood surfaced again in the second game of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals that year, and Schilling again turned in a stellar performance. Schilling lent the latter sock to the Baseball Hall of Fame for a time and then sold it in an auction, but he has never been voted into the hall, perhaps because of his incendiary political comments.
In 2016, after North Carolina passed a law restricting transgender people’s use of public restrooms, he shared a transphobic meme on Facebook. He and his family insisted he wasn’t anti-trans, but the action got him fired from ESPN. Additionally, he has joked about killing journalists, claimed that people who are offended by antigay slurs are “snowflakes,” said Hillary Clinton should be jailed, and spread conspiracy theories, including the allegation that a survivor of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was a “crisis actor.”
Since retiring from baseball, he has hosted a show on Breitbart Radio and appeared frequently on another right-wing outlet, Blaze TV. His post-baseball career has also been marked by the bankruptcy of a video game company he owned; he defaulted on loan payments to the state of Rhode Island when the company went under.
Schilling may not come through about running for the House; he talked about running for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts in 2016 but didn’t end up doing so. And even some conservatives think he’d make a poor candidate. “A lot of Schilling’s past rhetoric would make him a liability in a battleground district,” Tom Joyce wrote in a column posted today by the right-leaning Washington Examiner. “He has given his opponents plenty of fodder.”