Last year, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) faced a challenge from the right from a hedge fund manager. Next year, he may face a challenger who writes about them.
Lee Whitnum, whose 2005 novel Hedge Fund Mistress recounts the story of a Greenwich newcomer who begins an affair with a billionaire hedge fund manager, is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Shays, whose district includes such hedge fund hotspots as Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk. The race figures to be a high-profile contest in 2008: Shays eked out a narrow victory over his Democratic challenger last year and is now the only Republican representing New England in the House of Representatives.
Whitnum, who is vice president of an African relief non-profit, says she’ll run her campaign on the war (she’s against it), immigration (she’s against it), health care (she’s for it) and the environment (she’s for it). And in a district best known for tony shopping and expansive mansions, she’s planning on playing the class card.
“I feel like the middle class is not represented on the national level at all,” Whitnum, a Greenwich resident who describes herself as middle class, told Greenwich Time. “The general feeling is that things are not getting better here, that things are going downhill in this country.”
She faces Greenwich Democratic Town Committee Chairman Jim Himes, a former Goldman Sachs banker, in the battle for the nomination.
Whitnum is no stranger to politics, and no stranger to the Democratic establishment, either. In addition to its tale of marital infidelity amongst the hedge fund set, Hedge Fund Mistress has a political edge, which Whitnum says is based on her relationship with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. The pair dated when Whitnum was earning her master’s degree at Harvard University.