CT-Sen: Murphy is In

It’s on:

Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) jumped into the 2012 Senate race Thursday, saying in a statement that he decided to run to offer “a fresh, progressive voice.” …

“I’ve decided to run for the United States Senate in 2012 because I believe that I can be a stronger voice for the issues that matter to Connecticut, like creating good jobs and ending these costly wars, in the Senate,” Murphy’s statement read.

Murphy said entering the race was a “tough decision” but that ultimately, “what I’ve heard is that people feel that the Senate simply doesn’t work anymore — it’s become an unjustifiable barrier to positive change, and Connecticut needs a fresh, progressive voice there that will push for both policy and institutional reform.”

Murphy, a great friend of SSP, joins ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz in the Democratic primary fray. We’re still waiting to hear whether 2nd District Rep. Joe Courtney, who is also reportedly interested in a run, will throw down, as well.

UPDATE: Here’s Murphy’s announcement video, referencing his relentless door-knocking habits:

There’s also word today of a poll giving Murphy a 47-35 lead over Bysiewicz in the Dem primary, although we haven’t seen a memo yet. This article says it’s an internal poll from Murphy, but a source on the campaign tells us the numbers aren’t theirs.

While we’re girding for a major Dem primary, it’s sounding like there’s going to be some mortal combat on the GOP side too, with potentially as many as four retreads slugging it out. Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, who lost to Linda McMahon in last year’s Senate primary, is already firing shots across her bow, although it’s unclear whether he intends to run or is just trying to kneecap her so someone else gets a try. And while former Gov. candidate Tom Foley’s interest has been known, now the guy he defeated in his primary, former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, is also saying he’s considering the Senate race too.

Finally, there’s the little matter of CT-05, which, unless Murphy abruptly reverses course, is our first confirmed open seat of 2012. While this district (which includes culturally-conservative blue-collar cities like Waterbury and New Britain, plus a lot of wealthy second-home territory in the state’s northwest corner) is a Dem-leaning seat, it’s the closest Connecticut comes to a swing seat, at D+2. The GOP sounds like they’d like a return engagement from former state Sen. and Waterbury mayor Sam Caligiuri, who got within 8 points of Murphy last year. Potential Dem candidates mentioned include state House speaker Chris Donovan and Simsbury First Selectwoman (and Ned Lamont’s LG candidate) Mary Glassman.

83 thoughts on “CT-Sen: Murphy is In”

  1. Even if Foley were to run, and run unopposed, on the GOP side I have a tough time seeing this as competitive.

    To put it another way, how ugly would the Dem primary have to be for Foley to even make it close in a presidential year?

    Add to that the NRSC has tons of targets who will require financial and staff support that have a much higher probability of success than any GOPer in CT. The NRSC is not going to want to waste dollars there when candidates like Steelman (MO), Tyler (OH) & Hoekstra (MI) will screaming for help.

  2. will not be that competitive in the primary.

    Her polling numbers are solid because as a statewide office holder, more people know her and have voted for her. But Murphy will make up the difference pretty quickly. He’s impressive.

    And folks haven’t forgotten her strange mishaps over the past couple years, including her changing intentions to run for different offices two years ago (it was like musical chairs, and painful to watch), and her mishandling of the governor’s post-election this year. She didn’t even show up for one press conference when she had indicated she would. It was like she went into hiding.

  3. http://www.chrismurphy.com/pag

    My first reaction was that the door-knock was a little tacky, but I think he pulls it off by the end. I love the promise to reply to all questions and comments. Neat stuff.

    Also, I love how he unabashedly ties himself to health care reform. In the email I got this morning, he called out his vote for a public option, and in the video, he says: “Creating jobs requires extending health care to all Americans.”

    This could be an encouraging sign for Democratic campaigns in the next cycle. Granted, different messages will resonate in different states, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see successful campaigns built on STRENGTHENING the HCR bill from a progressive standpoint. That could help change the discussion in the country, where the bill as it stands becomes the defacto middle ground, and much harder for conservatives to dislodge.

  4. SSP needs to get the house retirement watch going. I don’t know when the mods usually get it up, but now that we have our first retirement of the season….

    Also, who are the likely contenders for Murphy’s now vacated house seat?

  5. Chris Murphy would be an excellent candidate. Susan Bysiewicz…err I fear that she’ll have some news worthy gaffes on the campaign trail like Martha Coakley did.  

  6. Murphy will be a fantastic senator and will make Connecticut proud unlike the current occupant of the seat.

  7. Very good since the point of the recruitment.

    Successful recruitment for this open seat. Very good new.

  8. if you guys don’t vote for me, I’m going to have Linda McMahon start running those ads again. Think I’m kidding? Try me!”

  9. I know it’s far out, but I think Connecticut is well and truly done with electing Republicans on the federal level. Foley, Fedele, and McMahon are definitely top-tier, but they all lost last year in a tremendous Republican wave election (Fedele didn’t even make it out of the primary).

    Bysiewicz shouldn’t be an obstacle, and if Rep. Courtney runs, I don’t see him making much of an impression. Sometimes looks do matter.

  10. Why run a very conservative candidate like Caligiuri (and thus – give initiative to Democrats from the beginning) when Republicans could run generally moderate and noncontroversial candidate like Roraback, who would have substantially better chances in this only slightly Democratic district? No logic at all, IMHO…

  11. With the X factor of Lieberman gone then this one looks pretty easy D pickup. I really think Murphy will be a good Senator as well.  

  12. Isn’t that the first open seat of the cycle? I think Pence already announced that he’s not running for another term, even though it isn’t clear whether he will run for President or Governor.

  13. he have the ability to raise money on his own?

    Also, I get implying that Taylor will be the nominee in Ohio, but why Steelman in Missouri and Hoekstra in Michigan?  

  14. I can’t imagine that Foley would be competitive against someone like Murphy, at least not in a presidential year.

  15. Same goes for any other likely nominee in either state, Terry Lynn Land or Candice Miller in MI…

    I seriously doubt a major challenger will show up to compete with Sarah Steelman in Missouri, Talent is a no & I think what’s-his-name from NW MO is just posturing. Actually he sounds like someone who has over thought how to leverage for decent treatment in redistricting…

  16. He was known for that back when he was in the state senate–he’d knocked on every door in his district.  I did some door-knocking for him in the 2006 campaign, and it was a lean, mean operation.  Volunteers would show up at his house, his wife would have coffee and walk-lists ready to go in the garage, and it was a quick pep-talk and out to our neighborhoods.  Probably the best feeling campaign volunteering experience I’ve ever had; they knew how to make you feel proud and excited about what you were doing.

    With serious money behind him and that kind of hustle on his end, Bysiewicz shouldn’t stand a chance.

  17. I know he has tons of money, but did he self fund his Governor race? I don’t think he has THAT kind of money and can probably race a decent amount of cash the old fashion way…

  18. But, yes, I suspect it’s highly improbable a Republican can win here with President Obama winning by 20 atop the Democratic ticket. High single-digits, though? Perhaps. Might be enough to force Patty Murray to spend some dough that could be better-used elsewhere.

  19. more of our candidates had that sort of attitude.

    I’ve got very limited campaign experience, but I imagine for a small scale race like a legislative seat, that’s what Murphy did matters the most. And while it almost certainly can’t be the only thing a candidate does, it doesn’t require huge sums of money, at least compared to other means of campaigning, but rather volunteers and some time, so for extreme underdogs, it can be a dominant feature of their campaigns, at least at first. I’ve wondered what the effect would be of doing this in a district where the incumbent isn’t hated but also isn’t particularly liked and perhaps really isn’t a household name. Can be it particularly effective when a candidate is napping? After all, door-to-door stuff is probably far less noticeable than other forms of campaigning, so a sustained effort could fly by the incumbent giving him far less time to react.  

  20. Does she have that Betty Ireland “Eddie Izzard in Drag” look that is sure to appeal to “Hicky” West Virginians?

  21. But, please, in the future, would you kindly reserve such things for open threads/daily digests? We’d really like to keep each thread as on-topic as possible. Thanks for understanding.

  22. Murphy represents Red Sox territory already.  I wonder if that’s a boundary that they try to respect when redistricting.

  23. I’m not super familiar with Murphy’s district, though my parents live there outside Newtown. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton could also run for the Rs.

    Anyone know the likely Democratic challengers? In a presidential year I don’t see the race as anything below a toss-up, despite the relative-closeness of the race in 2010.  

  24. a bipartisan panel is drawing the new CT districts, and it has to pass both legislative chambers with 2/3 of the vote, so I doubt we’ll see a Dem gerrymander here.

    So what would a bipartisan or court-drawn map do to CT-05?

  25. Graves represents a corner district that can’t be eliminated without making a very volatile map. I tried it and you get a map that could plausibly be anything from 7R-1D to 4R-4D, depending on the year and the candidates. That ain’t gonna happen (Though advocates for competitive house races might dream about it.)

    As for a Steelman challenge, I doubt it also. The TP swallowed a pretty big pill with Blunt, so I doubt they’ll be in the mood to let another establishment Sen nominee slip through. Anybody challenging Steelman from the left would have a pretty tough trek.

  26. and he was gonna go smoke a few joints with whoever opened the door.

    Great intro ad, though. Chris Murphy is going to make a GREAT Senator.

  27. Two summers ago I was driving on I-84 toward Central Massachusetts from Baltimore. It was rush hour and I decided to stop for a bite to eat because I was tired of sitting in traffic, so I walked into the Danbury Fair Mall.

    It seemed like every male and many females was wearing a Yankee hat and/or T-shirt. And I stick out like a sore thumb in a bright red Sox shirt and red Sox cap. That food court was a lonely place for me to be that day.

    Danbury of course is the first town on I-84 leaving New York, and directly on a Metro North commuter line, so it’s not surprising.

    I don’t know a lot about Litchfield County, honestly. It was make more sense to me for it to have more of a NY influence because of all the rich NYC-area folks having second homes there and the general lack of much of anything in bordering parts of Massachusetts.  

    The only part of the district that’s clearly Red Sox country is the Farmington Valley part (New Britain, Farmington, Avon, and Simsbury) in the NE corner.

    Republicans drew this map and screwed themselves badly, but it made sense at the time: the delegation was 3D, 3R in 2000 and they spread the Republicans around enough, or so they thought, to keep their three incumbents (Rob Simmons, Chris Shays, and Nancy Johnson) in office while getting rid of one of the Democrats. It did work at the time.  

  28. I didn’t know CT went the commission route. I drew up one map that I thought was a Dem gerrymander (i.e. an effort to keep the delegation 5-0) and another for the GOP (where they’d be favored to win, but not necessary guaranteed, two seats.)

    I shall try something neutral next.  

  29. It would be hard to make this any less Democratic, even with a bipartisan commission.

    Compactness and population density will make CT-04 stay roughly the same shape, meaning richer GOP towns in Fairfield County won’t be added.

    20% of Waterbury (the real Dem/minority parts) are in Rosa DeLauro’s CT-03. If they decide to shove all of Waterbury in the fifth, we could end up much better here. Same thing goes if they take away some of the bluer Hartford burbs from Larson.

    As long as we don’t run a moron, like, say, the current Lieberdem mayor of Waterbury, who was last seen getting trounced in the CT Comptroller primary, we’ll be fine. I also wonder if the reactionary former GOP mayor of Danbury (who I think ran in the GOP Gov primary last year) will run. There’s a lot of immigrants in Waterbury, Meriden, and New Britain for him to piss off.

  30. I think I blocked that 2006 Nancy Johnson ad out because it was so ridiculous and bad. A pinch of (reverse?) ageism with a big heaping helping of ridiculous.

    Let’s relive the moment in which Nancy Johnson flushed 11 terms in congress down the toilet, shall we?

  31. I have seen this ad posted and referenced so many times that the other day I kicked myself for not having watching it.

  32. is almost 60. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t step aside for the guy in his early 40s and just keep building up seniority. I don’t think he will run, not with two A-list Dems in already; he’d be giving up a safe seat for a suicide vanity campaign; because he can’t hope to make Murphy or Byciewez in fundraising or name recognition.  

  33. the Republicans nominate candidates in the name of purity, even if it means losing, even when it comes to incumbents. The Democrats aren’t nearly as bad, which in the long run will make them the stronger national party.

  34. the Republicans nominate candidates in the name of purity, even if it means losing, even when it comes to incumbents. The Democrats aren’t nearly as bad, which in the long run will make them the stronger national party.

  35. Answer that and you’ll answer your own question. With Democrats more and more the default party in most of the state, what you’ve got left in a GOP primary is the true believers. (Since I’ve never lived in CT, I don’t recall if they have an open primary system. They seem to have a high number of unenrolled voters, like Massachusetts does, so I would guess there’s open primaries…)

    However, you’d think if there’s any place that an old line, culturally liberal/moderate “country club” type of Republican could still get out of a primary against a movement conservative type, it’d be Connecticut.

  36. is still in Fairfield County after all…and, I was basing my initial observation on a sample size of about one, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if I was off.

    But I really doubt Waterbury’s primary influence is rich NYC-area folks on their second homes, at a minimum.

  37. is still in Fairfield County after all…and, I was basing my initial observation on a sample size of about one, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if I was off.

    But I really doubt Waterbury’s primary influence is rich NYC-area folks on their second homes, at a minimum.

  38. But generally speaking, CT-01 and CT-02 are solid Red Sox/Pats/Celtics territory, CT-04 and most of CT-03 support New York teams, and CT-05 is split, with the suburban areas in Hartford County favoring Boston and the rural Litchfield part preferring New York.

  39. If Kennedy wants the seat, I’d like tos ee him involved in elected politics at some level before a Senate run.  Quite honestly if he wants the seat he could run for something else in CT and just wait for Blumenthal’s seat.

    I still have mega-resentment to Caroline Kennedy seekign appointment in NY I guess.  While Ted Jr would at least be pursuing the seat through an election, I don’t think there’s enough in his background to say he’d be better or more qualified than Murphy, who I think could be truly great.

  40. I do have to wonder, though, if Bysiewicz being one woman among (potentially) three other men could give her something of an opening. In all fairness, I have zero proof that Bysiewicz has more pull with women than men here.

  41. I might try to draw up a Connecticut map that would allow Kennedy to run for an open House seat, but I suspect it would look rather blatant.

  42. He’s lived in this district for decades, so if Rosa ever decided to hang it up he could run here no problem, save for what would be a hell of a primary.

  43. The old woman telling him to “keep walking!” was kinda clever and creative, and made a fairly non-controversial argument (on taxes.) But then it just got bizarre and foolish, complete with some really bad acting. A pretty juvenile move by Johnson.

  44. I’d say Waterbury is New York territory too, though it’s pretty much on the borderline much like New Haven is. I will say that travel from Waterbury to southern Connecticut (say Bridgeport and Stamford) on Metro-North is heavier than you’d think, if that means anything.  

  45. I mean everyone has a facebook. I really can’t think of seeing any other members of Congress without one. It’s a central part of campaigning in this day in age. He will now probably get one soon I’d think.  

  46.  bet its because he lists it as Christopher and not Chris. He looks really young in that picture. I know he is young but he could pass for a college student in that pic.  

  47. out his TV likes.

    30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Modern Family, Family Guy, American Experience, The Newshour, and Lost.

    Now that takes guts for a Congressman to admit he watches Family Guy.

  48. 11th grade high school English teacher was an avid fan of Family Guy. He even showed an episode to us in class one day to demonstrate irony or something like that. Hell even me AP Gov teacher said she watched Family Guy when I was talking about the evil monkey that haunts Chris’ closet to a fellow student.

  49. Arcade Fire?

    STAR WARS!!!

    The tv shows are EPIC win.

    Chris Murphy is closer to an “everyman” than most of us actually are.

  50. to change for it to be 4R-4D? And if it’s not going to end up like that, at least not all at once, how does the map end up being so friendly to them at the same time?

    As for Steelman, I thought she was sort of liked by the Teabaggers, or at least not hated. I guess it doesn’t matter that much, however, since Missouri politics seems like it could be more vicious and less incestuous than it is in, say, Nevada or North Dakota. And since it’s larger, it seems like there’s a greater chance of some obscure person making an impact.  

  51. from Chicago’s favorite son would seal the deal here. But at the same time would probably set off a huge firestorm among the black/Hispanic community like Bill Clinton’s endorsement of Emanuel did.

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