CT-Sen: Rep. Joe Courtney (D) Won’t Run

One less potential open seat for Dems to worry about:

Congressman Joe Courtney said Monday he would not run for U.S. Senate in 2012.

In a statement release Monday morning, Courtney said: “I am truly grateful for the tremendous encouragement and enthusiastic support I have received from leaders across Connecticut as I have considered this question. I look forward to working with all of those who reached out to create a strong future for our state. After careful deliberation, however, I have decided to focus on my work as a Congressman and will decline to enter the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.”.

So far, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz have announced they will run for the seat now held by Joseph Lieberman, who is not seeking re-election.

This most immediately seems to be a boon to Murphy, as Courtney cuts a more similar profile to him than Bysiewicz and thus would likely have siphoned off more of Murphy’s vote than Bysie’s.

33 thoughts on “CT-Sen: Rep. Joe Courtney (D) Won’t Run”

  1. Perhaps, but isn’t there also some overlap between Courtney’s district and Bysiewicz’s geographic base?

    I think Murphy is the clear front-runner here – a crowded field might work better for him than a one-on-one with Bysiewicz?

    Not certain on either interpretation, but also not certain about the premise that Courtney’s decision inherently helps Murphy.  

  2. If it’s a one-on-one race between him and Bysiewicz Murphy should clean up pretty handily. And the chances of a Republican winning this race are minimal, and even less without a clustered, brutal Democratic primary.

  3. She’s damaged goods, and Murphy as a sitting rep has better opportunity for free press. If it stays Murphy-Bysiewicz, he wins the primary by 15-20 points. Courtney just saved another open seat, too, and it’s one that has a history of flipping and close races so there’ll be no headaches in CT-02 at least.

    A Murphy-McMahon general should be interesting; he’s young enough that he probably watched a lot of wrestling back in the 80s-early 90s glory days.

  4. I definitely remember her jumping out very quickly after Dodd retired and when Blumenthal ran for that seat instead of against Lieberman, so for me it was clear she’s been running for Senate for quite some time.  But why didn’t she just go for Gov instead of Senate?  I don’t know enough about CT-Gov 2010; did she have weak numbers, fundraising, or both were strong but not going to cut it?

    And then her run for AG?  What the hell was she thinking?  Her political story is  very interesting as you have to wonder who her advisors were, what they hell they were smoking and if they share.  Such a promising career gone to the tubes for absolutely no reason.  I get that she wanted to be Senator, but she should have just gone for Gov instead.  If she won, great, take over for Blummey when he retires then.  If you lost the primary, then you are set up for the Senate seat this cycle and losing gets you sympathy as a Dem primary loser with Dem primary voters.

    She pulls at my heart strings, as all women politicians do (even the Republicans.)  She had such a promising path in front of her and now she’s a bit of a joke.  What the hell happened?

  5. Don’t you think? It would have effectively been West CT politician versus a Central CT candidate and an Eastern CT candidate. As it is I feel like Himes and Courtney will probably be backing Murphy. And I have a feeling Malloy will try to remain neutral even though he and Byciewez, (horribly hard to spell), share a lot of turf and connections.  

  6. I am not progressive in my thinking and the electorate in Connecticut is not as progressive as some believe.  Take in point Lieberman’s re-election, Malloy’s close victory, and Shays and Simmons holding on to their district for so long.  Bysiewicz is hardly popular in Connecticut.  She was an utter failure.  I expect her primary challenge to be as short lived as her gubernatorial run.  Having Obama on the ballot and that should help with turnout in places like Bridgeport (absent Bridgeport, both Malloy and Himes would have lost).  However, I would not be as quick to claim that Chris Murphy has any edge.  First, he is largely unknown outside his district.  Second, Malloy will most certainly be a liability come 2012.  I expect his approval rating to be in the negative territory come spring (don’t expect a net positive recovery anytime soon).  Finally, there is no guarantee that Bridgeport will come out as strong a third time.  The other unknown is whether Republicans can come up with a strong moderate candidate, such as Simmons or Shays (he would have to move back from Maryland first).  As for now, this race is at best a Tossup.

  7. He barely won the Governor’s race, even after every poll showed him comfortably ahead.  He was barely re-elected mayor of Stamford on his last try.  The fact is that Malloy is not very popular, nor was he ever.  Now he is proposing new taxes increases on everyone.  The state electorate will sour on him very quick.  If 2010 produced anything solid, then LOSERS would be the word: Scott (FL), Malloy (CT), Kasich (OH), and Walker (WI).  Winning a close race does not give you a mantle to stand on.  These are four one-termers here.  

  8. I guess Malloy’s popularity will be on display today during the Special Election.  There are three State Senate seats up and 6 State Senate seats up:

    6 – New Britain

    13 – Meriden

    27 – Stamford

    20 – West Hartford

    25 – New Britain

    36 – Chester

    99 – East Haven

    101 – Guilford

    126 – Bridgeport

    **Bridgeport is rather exciting.  You have 1 Democrat, five petitioning Democrats, and 1 Republican.  If Republicans ever had a chance here, then this would be their only time.

    The 25th in New Britain has no Republican nominee, therefore by default, that will remain Democratic.

  9. It’s not super clear-cut, which is why I tried to hedge a bit in my language. Still, even as a Murphy partisan, I’m pleased with this move if for no other reason than I think this takes Courtney’s seat off the table for the GOP.

  10. I feel that Courtney running cuts into Murphy because Bysie has bungled her run at this point so much that there certainly has to be a contingent of “anyone but Bysie” crowd.  She has a track-record of negative press and she leaves a bad taste in some Dem primary voter’s mouths.  With Courtney, this group of voters would have been split, and now they’ll be left with Murphy.

  11. All things being equal, in a race with two men and one woman, or two women and one men, you probably want to be the “one” – at least in theory. Obviously things will differ in practice.

  12. (something like 2 to 1) and she was becoming very close to Rell in the polls for the general (7% down only). I think she make Rell decide to retire. And I appreciate it and I doubt not the people in Connecticut like her then.

    When Dodd decides to retire, Bluementhal who was looking to challenge Lieberman for 2012 change to the 2010 race, and Bysiewicz leaves the gubernatorial race, looking to challenge Lieberman. I understand this movement, it was so obvious for me since then. But they are people what understand not it.

    I have not clear if she is as damaged after can not run for CT-AG. Some poll would be helpful here. P Murphy is a very strong candidate.

  13. Most voters just don’t care about candidates’ gender, really in either primary.  That doesn’t mean women’s issues aren’t potent, because they are, but voters don’t draw a straight line from women’s issues to female candidates.  It’s different for President, but not downballot these days.

    I’m happy to see Courtney pass, I don’t think Sue can wage a serious challenge to Chris.  I want to see Chris with a clear field and no drama in this one, especially since November will be a lock.

  14. Being “the one” in a neutral sense, should be seen as a positive to gain a pool of voters in many areas.  I’m the gay one, ok you just got a giant chunk of LGBT voters, you’re the Hispanic, score if your district has a heavy Hispanic population, etc.  I see this as affirmative action in voting, and I think many Democrats practice this.  There is a fantastic Will and Grace episode where Will supports the Jewish woman who ends up being racist and then Will supports the gay guy who ends up hating poor people.  They both vow to swear off voting unless they know about the candidates, until Jack tells them that there is a black guy running.

    I just read the gay mayor of Redando Beach may run for CA-36; screw Bowen, I’m supporting him.  From afar and with no intention of donating.  But solidarity, nonetheless.

  15. Why will Malloy’s numbers be negative by the spring?

    As for the state, perhaps it’s not progressive, but is Democratic. Obama won the state by a bigger margin than Reagan won it. Bush won Texas in 2004 by only a few tenths of a percentage point more. And the Republicans, as you admit, don’t have a candidate. Perhaps they can get a moderate, but that’s far from guaranteed. And even if they do, will this moderate get enough cross support from Obama voters?  

  16. but surprisingly narrowly.  To quote myself:

    “Getting down to numbers, though, in 2010 Himes won Bridgeport by 14,197 votes while winning the district by 13,109.  So, without Bridgeport the district would have gone Republican by about 1100 votes, out of about 193,000 cast.  That’s still pretty close to even, actually, given the overall Republican lean of the year–I guess Stamford does an unheralded amount of work too.  So yeah, no Bridgeport, no Himes (at least in 2008 and 2010) but a hypothetical CT-04 without Bridgeport might be more competitive than you’d think.”

  17. Depending on your point of view either the most optimistic or pessimistic rating I’ve seen from anyone so far this cycle.

  18. People on the ground in Bridgeport ought to listen very carefully for stuff like this happening, to catch it when it does.

  19. In Maryland, after narrowly winning in 2006, the first thing he did was propose a big tax hike…and then proceeded to win a rematch in the most Republican cycle in nearly 20 years, by more than 10 points, more than tripling his original margin of victory, partially because his decision turned out to be the right one long term. You shouldn’t automatically discount Malloy.  

  20. Did Malloy hide the fact that he wanted to increase taxes during the race? If not, then his views factored in. You might be right that he’ll end up suffering, but it’s hardly a bait and switch.

    The article below makes him sound eminently reasonable. Perhaps that’s just the bias of the author showing, but if he’s the anti-Christie, in both temperament and in ideology, perhaps he can succeed in the end. He certainly seems to be going about it the right way.


  21. that’s hardly anything special.

    Are you confusing it with another state? It’s more friendly to Republicans on the state and local level, but those aren’t the Republicans that usually do well nationwide.  

  22. Even if “pretty Republican” may have been overstating it a little, there has been a realignment.

    In 1992, for example, Clinton still got less in CT (42%) than nationally (43%); in 1988, Dukakis did barely better in CT (47%) than nationally (46%), and lost the state; in 1984, Mondale did not just lose the state like he lost almost all states, he actually did worse in CT (39%) than nationally (41%).

    In fact, Connecticut voted for the GOP presidential candidate in five consecutive presidential elections from 1972 to 1988, so “pretty Republican” wasn’t all that much of an overstatement actually.

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