HARTFORD, CT – U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy has launched his re-election campaign and while he has no announced Republican opponent in Connecticut, yet, he is setting his sights on a bigger one in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve seen an unbelievable outpouring of action and activism since the election of Donald Trump,” Murphy said in his re-election announcement. “Thousands and thousands of people have signed up to take part in new grassroots groups that are working to push back on the most reckless aspects of the Trump agenda. It’s time to harness all this energy together into a unified effort.”
Murphy is calling his re-election effort “Fight Back Connecticut.”
He said he has started to hire organizers to “fan out across the state to work with activists and grassroots organizations to organize volunteer networks, turn people out for protests and events at a moment’s notice, make our voices heard in Hartford and Congress, and to conduct the largest voter ID, persuasion, and get out the vote operation Connecticut has ever seen.”
Murphy said, as of April 11, he had raised more than $3 million for his re-election campaign. He said he had received 66,039 donations, which averaged $42 per contribution, with 97 percent of contributions being $100 or less.
In total, Murphy has $3.5 million on hand for the campaign.
Murphy’s strong fundraising isn’t a unique phenomenon, according to ActBlue, an online fundraising conduit for Democratic candidates and caucuses.
ActBlue has processed more than $111 million in contributions during the first three months of 2017, more than four times the amount it handled during the comparable period in the 2016 election cycle, according to a USA Today report.
Murphy said he’s seeing the impact here in Connecticut.
“If there’s one lesson I’ve learned traveling across Connecticut during the first two months of the Trump administration, it’s that people are getting involved and taking action politically in ways they never have before,” Murphy said.
Murphy has also held packed town hall meetings where most of those who attended were inspired by Trump’s election to get involved.
“I’m amazed at the passion and enthusiasm of our grassroots supporters. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Murphy said.
Connecticut Republican Party Chairman JR Romano said that Murphy is “more interested in raising his political profile nationally than he is helping people in Connecticut.”
Murphy has been named as a potential candidate for president or vice president, which is not out of the realm of possibilities. Former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman was Al Gore’s running mate and former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd attempted to run for president in 2008.
Romano said Murphy and “other Democrats are not interested in solving problems. He can’t talk about things that Democrats have accomplished so he has a constant narrative of resistance, further dividing the nation.”
“How come Murphy didn’t fight with (Gov.) Dan Malloy when we lost GE,” Romano added, referring to General Electric’s decision last year to move its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston.
Romano said the GOP “has about four candidates considering” running against Murphy, though none have yet to state so publicly.
He said “as spring leads into summer” candidates will emerge. They’ll need to, Romano added, to begin the arduous task of fundraising for an election that is more than 18 months away.
Meanwhile, Murphy’s support in his own party seems solid.
“Perhaps no one in the United States Senate has been more active and effective in pushing back against the Trump administration’s dangerous agenda than Chris Murphy,” Connecticut Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto said.
There are no Democrats looking to primary Murphy.
“Since Jan. 20 Democrats have been mobilizing across this state like never before. We’ve seen grassroots organizations and activities pop up across the state and country,” Balletto said. “Right here in Connecticut we’ve seen the difference that can be made when activists show up and make their voice heard at Republican town halls or the electoral impact that volunteers can have when they step up for local and state elections.”
Murphy was elected in 2012, defeating Republican Linda McMahon, who is now the administrator of the Small Business Administration for Trump.
McMahon, who along with her husband Vince, were professional wrestling magnates, spent $100 million in two losing Senate campaigns – first to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal in 2010 and then to Murphy in 2012.