More at Stake for Murphy than Just a Congressional Seat

The new CT Capitol Report  poll showing Congressman Chris Murphy a point behind Republican Sam Caligiuri is not only threatening his re-election to the 5th District, but also the stealth race he’s been running for a while:  for the U.S. Senate in 2012.   

Murphy has always dismissed such talk with the pat answer “I’m focused on being a congressman,” or something along those lines.   However, it is no secret in political circles that the two term Democrat has his eye on challenging Senator Joe Lieberman two years from now.   Murphy’s name has appeared in polls for the 2012 race, and there was even talk earlier this year that if the Vietnam controversy forced Dick Blumenthal from the race, Murphy would replace him. 

 But something happened on the way to 2012.   One political insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told me while Murphy was  looking beyond ’10, he  was blindsided this summer by the strong race Caligiuri was running, expecting instead to be easily re-elected     Now he is spending loads of cash in the fight of his political life. 

If Murphy loses, his chances of running for the senate will be dealt a devastating setback.   If Jim Himes and Joe Courtney win, they would instantly be stronger senate candidates than a candidate whose last performance was a loss.   Throw in Susan Bysiewicz and possibly Ted Kennedy, Junior and it would be very difficult for Murphy to make a case for himself that he should be the one to take on Lieberman and the Republican candidate, who will likely be a formidable one.   The days of the state GOP putting up a sacrificial lamb candidate for the senate are over.   

Even if the entire congressional delegation is re-elected, Murphy still needs a strong win to buoy his chances in ’12.   If he wins a close nail biter and Courtney romps by a huge margin, perhaps the party will look at the man from the 2nd district.    A while back, a person close to Courtney called me up, a little peeved after we aired a story about a potential Murphy Lieberman matchup.   This person wanted to know why we only talk about Murphy running for the senate.    “Just because Joe doesn’t drop hints he wants to run like Murphy does, doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in the senate…..it’s just too early to be doing that,”  that person told me.   

If Himes pulls out a win over Dan Debicella, he could make a case to run for the senate.  Courtney and Himes are considered more moderate than Murphy, which could make them more appealing as  statewide candidates in a Lieberman challenge. 

We will learn much on Tuesday night.   Hard to fathom, but the race for 2012 starts next week.

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11 Responses

  1. Murphy is far left and don’t see how he’d win against Lieberman at all. We’ve got to get Joe outa there and need someone who will fight tooth n’ nail from the moment the party says go. Bysiewicz will give it her all and would be one tough opponent (I would imagine she has state wide support in place from this year). Ted Kennedy Jr would also give the race national attention… here we go 2012…

  2. Chris Murphy! Every time I think of that name all I can picture is the Fox News footage of him, accompanied by a crown of other smiling and laughing Democrates, sneaking out a back door to the House Chambers in order to AVOID a vote. If the man doesn’t want to vote I am more than willing to help him out – but I’m puzzled as to why he’s now asking me to send him back for another term???????

  3. Incumbents are even starting to struggle in New England, where Jim Himes was one of two incumbents recently downgraded from “likely” to “leans” Democratic by Larry Sabato. The problem with Himes’ record of punishing success so that he can subsidize failure is the unintended, if not unexpected, consequence of distorting the economy. If one ignores the costs and does not take into account incentives, then Himes’ ideas are not so terrible. However, costs and incentives matter and have played a role in the public policy outcome of the past two years. Voters are getting more of what we have subsidized (failure) and less of what we punished (success) and are left paying the costs. While it has been an expensive experiment, it is at least comforting to see the results confirm every one of the previous social experiments in government-run economies. Here is a comparison with his opponent: http://www.40seats.com/ct4 .

  4. Murphy is all showmanship and no work. He does nothing for his constituents and that’s why CT’s unemployment is the HIGHEST in his OWN district!

  5. Getting a little worried there Murphy? Should be! You guys are gonna get your a$$es handed to you Tuesday.

  6. The truth here is that any credible Republican candidate was going to beat Murphy from the beginning based on the make up of the district and the mood nationwide. Murphy got in on a wave against the party in power and will be washed out on the same wave going out.
    He was lucky to be on the ballot as a democrat in 2006 and unlucky in 2010. His opponent this year is also experiencing the same luck simply being a Republican in 2010.

  7. The arrogant Murphy is going to have the same career ending defeat Gary Franks had. The 5th District isn’t a pit stop to the Senate

  8. Dennis, your post is interesting in that sometimes the speculation is far more interesting and intriguing than the actual race.

    So, other than Murphy & Himes (who both have to win), Kennedy, Bysiewicz and maybe Courtney, who I think is more enamored with the idea than actually campaigning for Senate, who else do the Dems have? Well, here’s a short list of “dark horse” potentials (in no order):

    State Rep. William Tong — Congress if Himes loses
    State Rep. Elizabeth Esty — Congress if Murphy loses
    First Selectman Mary Glassman — Congress if Murphy loses
    Gary Collins
    State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield — or Mayor of New Haven
    State Sen. Jonathan Harris
    Merrick Alpert
    Ned Lamont

  9. Wow. He thought he was going to the Senate? Nice ego. From the moment he voted for cap and trade without knowing what was in the bill to the time he did the same thing with Obamacare I was pretty sure he was a dead man walking. He ought to listen to himself on radio interviews conducted far before the frenzy of election day. He sounds like an idiot.

    Buh bye.

  10. Murphy needs to go. Before aiming for the Senate, try actually working on behalf of the people — not your Political Party man.

  11. Chris Murphy must go! Murphy is a job killer for America!
    Never, never trust him again!

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