Already, Tong is generating some buzz. He raised $550,000 during the second quarter, (he was only a candidate for 53 days during the period). Tong also recently announced the hiring of several well-regarded veteran Democratic strategists, including former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee executive director Jim Jordan and pollster Fred Yang.
"The reason why I am running for the U.S. Senate is because I think someone needs to go to the Senate to make sure it's a fair fight for working people and small businesses across Connecticut and across the country," said Tong.
While Tong's initial financial haul was impressive, Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., has proven that it will be tough to keep pace with his own strides. Murphy, who enjoys strong support on the left, raised $925,000 in the second quarter, ending the period with $1.6 million in the bank. The congressman has already racked up early labor endorsements and has secured the backing of the state's entire U.S. House delegation.
One of Tong's biggest liabilities is that fact that he is an unknown quantity who has yet to establish a statewide profile. Moreover, navigating a three-way race - former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is also running in the Democratic contest -- can be tricky, and it's not yet completely clear who stands to benefit most from Tong's entrance into the contest.
Look for Tong to also cast himself as a candidate capable of taking on the oil industry, emphasizing his legislative record in the process. But it's clear that his personal narrative will be a central focus of his push to distinguish himself from his opponents.
"I'm not a billionaire, I'm not a congressman, and I'm not a household name, and I haven't run statewide before," Tong said. "But I've had to fight for most things in my life, and I think voters can tell the difference."