Chris Murphy (politician): Wikis


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Chris Murphy

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 5th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Nancy Johnson

Member of the
Connecticut Senate
from the 16th district
In office
2003 – 2006
Preceded by Steve Somma[1]
Succeeded by Sam Caligiuri

Member of the
Connecticut House of Representatives
from the 81st district
In office
1999 – 2002
Preceded by Angelo M. Fusco[2]
Succeeded by Bruce Zalaski

Born August 3, 1973 (1973-08-03) (age 36)
White Plains, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Cathy Holahan
Residence Cheshire, Connecticut
Alma mater Williams College, University of Connecticut
Occupation attorney
Religion Non-denominational Christian

Christopher S. Murphy (born August 3, 1973, in White Plains, New York) is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. He is a former Connecticut State Senator, and the current United States Representative from Connecticut's fifth district.

Upon entering the House, Murphy finished his second term from the 16th State Senatorial District that includes the towns of Waterbury, Southington, Wolcott and Cheshire. His successor in the State Senate is Republican Sam Caligiuri. Rep. Murphy is a C-SPAN regular, often playing a large role in talking about the public opposition to the Iraq War along with colleagues such as Paul Hodes and Jason Altmire, who also defeated incumbents to win their seats in 2006.



Murphy is a graduate of Wethersfield High School, Williams College, and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He attended the Exeter College, Oxford - Williams programme where Williams College sends a group of students to Exeter College for an academic year, from 1994–1995. He is employed as an attorney with the firm of Ruben, Johnson, and Morgan in Hartford. He currently resides in Cheshire. During his time at Oxford, Murphy played quarterback for the Oxford Cavaliers American football team.


Chris Murphy and his wife, Cathy Holahan Murphy, have one son, Owen Edward Murphy (born August 29, 2008).

Political career

Murphy began his political career as the campaign manager for Charlotte Koskoff's near upset of Nancy Johnson in 1996. (A decade later he would unseat Johnson himself). From 1997 to 1998 he worked for Connecticut State Senate Majority Leader George Jepsen.

Murphy was first elected to office in 1997, when he won a seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission in the town of Southington. In 1998, at the age of 25, he unseated a 14-year incumbent to take a seat in the Connecticut House of Representatives. He served two terms there, representing the 81st House District in Southington. He was elected to the State Senate at age 29, representing the 16th District, which encompasses Southington, Cheshire, Waterbury and Wolcott. Prior to Murphy's win, that seat had been held by a Republican for well over a decade. Murphy was appointed Senate chair of the legislature's Public Health Committee, and also chaired the state task force looking into the re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada. In his term in office, Murphy worked on environmental protection issues and for juvenile justice reform.

In 2005, he authored and legislation establishing the new Office of Child Protection to better coordinate advocacy for abused and neglected children, legislation that passed.. He also authored and was the prime sponsor of Connecticut's stem cell research act, making Connecticut only the third state in the nation to provide public funding for stem cell research.

2006 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives

Murphy left the State Senate (did not run for re-election) to seek the U.S. House seat held by Republican Nancy Johnson. Johnson won her 2004 election by a margin of 22%, garnering 60% of the vote to 38% for her Democratic opponent. (2% went to third-party candidates.) In 2002, Johnson faced what should have been a difficult challenge (running against a fellow incumbent in a redrawn district), but still she defeated her opponent, Congressman Jim Maloney, by a margin of nearly 10%. John Kerry won the district by about 1100 votes in 2004 and Al Gore won it when Johnson represented it as the 6th District in 2000.


New York Times endorsement

The New York Times endorsed Murphy saying

"Mr. Murphy, a lawyer, is impressive. He has spent eight years in the Connecticut House and Senate. He pushed for the state to adopt a system of campaign finance reform when he first entered the House, long before this was considered an important issue. He helped pass legislation that made it easier for the uninsured to obtain health insurance. He wants to work on the same issue in Congress. Mr. Murphy believes the war in Iraq has forced America into a false choice between war and civil liberties and has made us more vulnerable to terrorism. He advocates a timetable for withdrawal. Ms. Johnson has supported the war and has voted to continue the current open-ended commitment. We've supported Ms. Johnson in the past, but are disenchanted with her support of her leadership's radical agenda. Mr. Murphy would be a strong candidate in any race, and even against a seasoned incumbent, is impressive. He would make a superb addition to Congress. We strongly endorse his candidacy."

Johnson Wages "Nastiest Campaign in State History"

Johnson, Connecticut's longest serving representative in Congress with 12 terms in Washington, was battered by national discontent with the Republican Party and hurt by many self-inflicted wounds, including her campaign's decision to unleash a tide of negative ads against Murphy that turned her race into what many called one of the nastiest in state history.[3]

Johnson's defeat is likely to be regarded as a repudiation of the negative ad strategy she employed against Murphy, operating out of a Republican playbook devised by national Republicans. Negative ads by Johnson portrayed Murphy as tax-happy and soft on terrorism. Her early ads were deemed effective by many observers, including ABC News, but late in the campaign she ran ads claiming Murphy coddled drug dealers and sex offenders. Newspapers such as the Hartford Courant believed these ads had a reverse effect, drawing more voters to Murphy.

National political analyst Chuck Todd, in his last House race rankings of the cycle, stated "Johnson and Murphy have both run outstanding campaigns; Murphy should be considered a potential rising star in the Democratic Party should he pull this off." [4]

Controversy in the 2006 campaign: Campaign ad against Johnson

One of Murphy's ads against Johnson claimed that a mother contacted Johnson for help to get corrective surgery for her son's cleft lip and palate but was ignored by Johnson. According to, this was misleading, saying the mother contacted Murphy first, but never made contact with Johnson until 3 years later. In an article titled "Johnson Attack On Ad Misfires: Murphy Commercial Is Rooted In Fact", the Hartford Courant defended Murphy's version of events while Johnson's campaign demanded that the ad be pulled.

2006 election results

Murphy won the 2006 election, defeating Johnson by a margin of about 22,000 votes, 56% to 44%; the only House incumbent to suffer a worse defeat, percentage-wise, was John Hostettler (who lost to Democrat Brad Ellsworth in Indiana). Murphy was able to defeat Johnson in spite of the fact that her campaign spent about $5 million to his $2.5 million.

The 5th District has 41 municipalities, including blue-collar cities New Britain, Torrington, Danbury, Meriden, and Waterbury (the largest city in the district), rich suburban commuter towns in the Farmington Valley and north of New Haven, and rural towns in Litchfield County. Murphy won 35 of 41 towns in the district, including many that had voted reliably for Johnson in the past. For instance, in 2004, Johnson took the town of Simsbury by a wide margin, winning 8,798 votes to just 4,246 for her Democratic opponent. In 2006, Johnson received only 5,125 votes in Simsbury to 5,774 for Murphy.

Once-Republican towns such as Kent and Goshen in Litchfield County went for Murphy, and in large cities such as Danbury and Waterbury, Murphy swamped Johnson by large margins. In Johnson's hometown of New Britain, which she had represented for 30 years at the federal and state level (she'd served in the state senate from 1977 to 1983 before moving up to Congress), Murphy beat Johnson by a two-to-one margin.

Only one public poll was taken in the race, by The Hartford Courant. That poll showed Murphy's lead at four points. The size of the eventual margin surprised many local observers; the magnitude of Murphy's win surprised both local and national analysts.

2008 campaign

Murphy's Republican opponent in 2008 was Danbury Republican State Senator [3]David Cappiello. Murphy won re-election and will next be up in 2010. Two Republicans, State Senator Sam Caligiuri and Navy veteran Justin Bernier, are announced candidates for that election.

Congressional career

As a member of Congress, Murphy has said that reform of the lobbying system is a top priority. In the House of Representatives Murphy serves on the Oversight & Government Reform, and Financial Services committees. [5]

In September 2008 the Hartford Courant reported that disgraced former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland was actively raising money from allies in the Waterbury area for Murphy's 2008 re-election, and that Murphy and his campaign manager had held strategy meetings with Rowland. Rowland had resigned after a corruption investigation and plead guilty to federal charges stemming from the investigation.

In December 2007 Murphy made a remark on National Public Radio, declaring the United States Senate "a threat to democracy as we know it; they cannot bring any of these measures to a vote, the filibusters threatened by the Republicans hold up much of the work of the House." Murphy, however, opposed the FISA eavesdropping bill supported by the White House and passed by the House of Representatives, and endorsed the ultimately unsuccessful filibuster of this bill by Senator Christopher Dodd.

Two home invasions occurred in Murphy's district in 2007 and early 2008; the former, in Cheshire was especially brutal and deadly, involving the rape and murders of a mother and her two young daughters and gained national attention. In response, Murphy proposed making home invasion a federal crime.[6] Previously he had not endorsed a Three Strikes bill and was on record opposing such a law on the federal level.[7]

Murphy has opposed Republican efforts to expand domestic oil drilling to respond to high energy prices.[4] In August 2008 Murphy sent a letter to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer expressing support for increased oil drilling as part of a bipartisan energy bill. In October 2008 Murphy's opponent, David Cappiello launched TV ads criticising Murphy, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, for raising hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds from finance firms while voting for the $700 Billion "Wall Street Bailout".[8]

In 2009 Murphy, as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, helped draft HR 3200, the House health care reform bill. Murphy was forced to defend his role supporting the bill at a contentious town hall meeting in Simsbury in August 2009.[9] [10]

While much of the 5th District is part of the New York City Metropolitan Area in November 2009 Murphy was the only member of Congress representing the region to vote against a resolution congratulating the New York Yankees for winning the 2009 World Series. [11]

Committee assignments


External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Theresa Gerratana
Democratic Party Nominee for Connecticut's 5th congressional district
2006 (won)–present
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Nancy Johnson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Connecticut's 5th congressional district

2007-01-03 – present


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