2010 Connecticut 5th U.S. House District Race: Democratic Incumbent Christopher Murphy vs. Republican Sam Caligiuri

Steven Bryan
Yahoo! Contributor Network
Connecticut's 5th U.S. Congressional District Map

In Connecticut's 5th U.S. Congressional District, incumbent Christopher Murphy, a Democrat, is facing Republican challenger and "Young Gun" Sam Caligiuri.

Candidates for Connecticut's 5th Congressional District (two-year term):

(Encompasses portions of Litchfield and Hartford counties and the cities of Danbury and Bethel. See a boundary map here.)

Candidate: Christopher Murphy

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Now serving his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Connecticut native Murphy represented Southington and the 81st district in the Connecticut General Assembly from 1998 to 2002. As a state senator, Murphy represented the 16th District from 2003 to 2006.

In 2006, Murphy left the state senate to challenge Republican incumbent Nancy Johnson in Connecticut's 5th Congressional District, defeating Johnson 56 percent to 44 percent.

Professional experience: According to his official House of Representatives biography, Murphy majored in history and political science at Williams College in Massachusetts. In 2002, Murphy graduated from the University of Connecticut Law School in Hartford.

From 2002 to 2006, Murphy practiced real estate and banking law at the law firm of Ruben, Johnson & Morgan.

Key issues: Rep. Murphy's work in both the Connecticut General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives shows a strong focus on health care issues. In 2003, as chairman of the Public Health Committee, he helped enact a workplace smoking ban in Connecticut.

Currently, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its subcommittee on health, Murphy wants to make sure that every American has access to quality health care. He believes Congress should set the dual goals of covering all Americans and lowering the cost of health care.

Rep. Murphy also includes education and children's rights on his list of priorities. As a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, Murphy helped establish the Office of Child Protection.

On his website, Murphy also advocates more funding for the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), an initiative to raise the achievement level of all students. A continuation of President Johnson's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), NCLB has fallen out of favor in Congress because the program has not fulfilled many of its goals.

Endorsements: In May, Murphy received a unanimous endorsement from his party to run for a third term.

Chances of maintaining his seat: This district race is a toss-up. Murphy has the unanimous support of the Democratic Party behind him. Recently, Caligiuri was named a "Young Gun" by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), indicating his status as a "future leader" in Congress.

Candidate: Sam Caligiuri

Party: Republican

Political experience: In 1997, Caligiuri was elected to the Waterbury Board of Alderman. Currently serving as a state senator, Caligiuri represents Connecticut's 16th District, serving on the committees for Elementary & Secondary Education, Insurance & Real Estate, Appropriations and Regulation Review.

Professional experience: Caligiuri earned a bachelor of arts from Boston College, a master of arts in religion from Yale Divinity School and juris doctor from the Catholic University of America. According to his campaign website, following graduation, Caligiuri served as deputy legal counsel in the Connecticut governor's office.

Caligiuri is a partner in the Hartford office of Day Pitney LLP.

Key issues: On his campaign website, Caligiuri puts the economy high on his list of priorities, focusing on tax cuts instead of additional deficit spending. Caligiuri also says he signed the Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising to oppose any and all tax increases.

Caligiuri also puts a high priority on affordable and accessible health care, but not through increased government management. He did sign the Repeal It! pledge, promising to work to repeal any measures allowing for government takeover of health care.

On the topic of energy, Caligiuri advocates using green technologies that will not harm the environment or put an additional tax burden on consumers.


Caligiuri has secured a key endorsement from presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The National Republican Congressional Committee also has named Sam Caligiuri its latest "Young Gun."

Chances of unseating Christopher Murphy: This Connecticut district is a toss-up, but Caligiuri is an aggressive, experienced challenger. Taking his "Young Gun" status into account plus his fundraising ability, Caligiuri has a better-than-average chance of unseating Murphy.

Key Differences between Christopher Murphy and Sam Caligiuri
While Murphy and Caligiuri each want to reform the No Child Left Behind Act, they take different approaches. Murphy wants to put more funding into the program while Caligiuri seeks reforms to put educational decisions in the hands of local, not federal, government.

Connecticut's 5th U.S. Congressional District

Location: Located in the northwestern section of the state, Connecticut's 5th U.S. Congressional District includes the towns of Danbury, Meriden, New Britain and Waterbury.

2008 Results: Murphy defeated Republican challenger David Cappiello 161,178 votes to 117,914 votes.

Demographics: According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, the 703,075 residents of Connecticut's 5th Congressional Districts fall into the following categories: 74.3 percent white, 12.3 percent black, 0.8 percent American Indian or Alaska native, 4.4 percent Asian, 0.1 percent native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

The Cook Political Report Partisan Voter Index rates Connecticut's 5th U.S. Congressional District as D+2, indicating a slight Democratic lean.