Christopher S. Murphy (b. August 3 1973, White Plains, New York) is an American politician, member of the Democratic Party. He is a former Connecticut State Senator, and the current United States Representative from Connecticut’s 5th District (map).
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.
Murphy was first elected to office in 1997, when he won a seat on the Planning & Zoning Commission in the town of Southington, CT. In 1998, at age 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.
Murphy 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.
Murphy is also the author and prime sponsor of Connecticut's historic stem cell research act, making Connecticut only the third state in the nation to provide public funding for stem cell research.
"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'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, 33, 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."
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. In other words, more than 3,500 Simsbury voters who supported Johnson in 2004 either changed their votes or stayed home in 2006.
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 since 1982 in Congress and for a number of years before that in the State Senate, Murphy beat Johnson by a 2-to-1 margin.
Only one public poll was taken in the race, by The Hartford Courant. That poll showed Murphy's lead at 4 points. The size of the eventual margin surprised many local observers; the magnitude of Murphy's win surprised both local and national analysts.
As a member of Congress, Murphy 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.
In September 2008 the Hartford Courant reported that former 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 resigned after a corruption investigation and plead guilty to federal charges stemming from the investigation.
In December 2007 Murphy made remark on National Public Radio, declaring the U.S. 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 2008; following the second home invasion, Murphy proposed making home invasion a federal crime. Murphy had not endorsed a Three Strikes bill supported by residents of Cheshire and was listed as being on record against such a law on the federal level. A liberal blogger questioned Murphy's proposal, noting it would be deemed unconstitutional under the precedent in United States v. Morrison.
Murphy has opposed Republican efforts to expand domestic oil drilling to respond to high energy prices. In August 2008 Murphy sent a letter to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer expressing support for increased oil drilling as part of a a bipartisan energy bill.