Bysiewicz and Murphy may not be alone in the Democratic field. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) has also said he is considering the race, as has businessman Ted Kennedy, Jr.. Courtney is considered less likely to run than Kennedy, but Kennedy is expected to take his time making a decision.
On the Republican side, 2010 Senate contender and former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R) is openly considering the race. Other potential Republican candidates include 2010 gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley, former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele and former Rep. Rob Simmons, who lost the 2010 Senate primary to McMahon.Republicans targeted Murphy in last year's midterms, and believed they had a strong challenger in state Sen. Sam Caligiuri, who is considering running again in 2012. The NRCC didn't spend money in the district last year, but with the seat now open, it jumps much higher on their target list.
Caligiuri already has high name recognition in the state and a network of donors, having raised $1.3 million for his bid in 2010, and he could avoid a messy primary and convention struggle, while several Democrats are likely to jump at the chance to run.
Still, Democrats are quick to point out that Caligiuri lost by more than 8 percentage points in a Republican year, even as the district only narrowly voted for newly elected Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (50 percent to 49 percent). And redistricting will change the makeup of the district, too - with Democrats controlling the process, it's possible party leaders could pull more Democratic areas in from the neighboring 1st or 3rd Districts to help solidify their edge.
"In the northeast alone there are more than a handful of seats where we plan to play offense, and Chris Murphy's seat is one of them," said Tory Mazzola, NRCC spokesman. "As an open seat, the Democrats' efforts to hold this district become much more problematic, especially when you consider the region's large percentage of independent voters who are frustrated with a partisan, job-destroying agenda."
This post was updated at 10:27 a.m. with Murphy's statement.