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Sen. Chris Murphy of CT to run for third term

2022 FILE: U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) assures students he is fighting for them during a roundtable discussion with Alfred E. Burr Middle Schoolers on youth mental health and ways to improve support services in schools, Hartford, Connecticut.
Joe Amon
Connecticut Public
2022 FILE: U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) assures students he is fighting for them during a roundtable discussion with Alfred E. Burr Middle Schoolers on youth mental health and ways to improve support services in schools, Hartford, Connecticut.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Thursday he will run for a third term in 2024, highlighting his decade-long work to curb gun violence and vowing to not accept any corporate donations during his campaign.

Murphy was first elected to the Senate in 2012, weeks before the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened in the congressional district he had been serving in the U.S. House at that time. He has said that tragedy motivated him to prioritize passing gun reforms, which have stalled in Congress for years.

After months of bipartisan negotiations, he helped champion the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden last June. It was the first time Congress had passed gun safety legislation in nearly three decades, though it left out many of Murphy’s and Democrats’ priorities, like a federal assault weapons ban and universal background checks.

The bill strengthened background checks for those buying firearms under age 21 and incentivized states to pass “red flag” laws that permit a court to temporarily prevent someone from buying a gun if they are a threat to themselves or others. It also provided substantial funding for schools and mental health services.

Murphy said he is now “determined to right another wrong” when it comes to his reelection and promised to not accept any corporate or political action committee donations in his latest Senate campaign. Other Democratic candidates have made similar pledges in past elections to address the influence of money in politics and reform campaign finance laws.

“I’m not going to raise money for this campaign the way that Washington says that I’m supposed to. I’m not going to take corporate money. I’m not going to accept PAC money. … I’m not going to use fear tactics or hyperbole to scare people into donating,” Murphy said in a video posted to Twitter.

“It’s a risk, especially with the gun industry and other special interests that are going to be breathing down my neck,” he added. “But just like the fight against the gun lobby, it’s a risk worth taking to change a very broken status quo.”

But it is also a risk that Murphy can afford to take. His federal campaign filings show that he ended 2022 with nearly $4 million in the bank. Plus, Murphy goes in with the upper hand in a state where Republicans have not won a U.S. Senate race since the 1982 reelection of Lowell Weicker.

Murphy easily won his past two Senate races by double-digit margins. And last November, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., secured reelection by defeating Republican opponent Leora Levy by 15 percentage points.

After serving Connecticut’s 5th congressional district for six years, Murphy first ran for Senate in 2012 against Republican Linda McMahon, who spent tens of millions of dollars of her own money in campaigns against both Murphy and Blumenthal. Murphy ran for reelection in 2018, easily defeating Republican Matthew Corey.

Robert Hyde, a landscaper who did not qualify for the Republican Senate primary in 2022, has said he will run for Senate in 2024. He was charged with a DUI in January, but told The Hartford Courant at the time that he still intends to run. As a supporter of Donald Trump, Hyde attended the former president’s rally on Jan. 6, 2021, but said he did not go to the U.S. Capitol where riots ultimately led to a breach of the building.

Before confirming his decision to run for a third time, Murphy has been asked about any potential interest in running for president. In an interview from last July with the Christian Science Monitor, he said, “at some point in my life, that might interest me.”

But when asked last September about other national ambitions, Murphy insisted that his attention is on the Senate and continuing his work on gun safety.

“I have seen this year what a difference I can make in this job,” Murphy said in an interview with CT Mirror at the time. “It feels like my efforts can be best exerted in the Senate. Right now, my focus is on the Senate and growing this movement.”

This story was originally published by the Connecticut Mirror.

The Connecticut Mirror/Connecticut Public Radio federal policy reporter position is made possible, in part, by funding from the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation and Engage CT.

Lisa Hagen is CT Public and CT Mirror’s shared Federal Policy Reporter. Based in Washington, D.C., she focuses on the impact of federal policy in Connecticut and covers the state’s congressional delegation. Lisa previously covered national politics and campaigns for U.S. News & World Report, The Hill and National Journal’s Hotline.

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