Chris Murphy was born in White Plains, N.Y. and grew up in Wethersfield, Conn. He currently resides in Cheshire, Conn. He received a bachelor's degree from Williams College and a law degree from the University of Connecticut.
Murphy, a Democrat, was elected to the state's House of Representatives in 1998 and to the state Senate in 2002. As a state senator, he was co-chairman of the General Assembly's Public Health Committee for four years.
Murphy practiced real estate and banking law before being elected to Congress in 2006. He defeated a 24-year incumbent, former Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson. In his TV ads, Murphy pitched himself as a fresh, young grassroots campaigner, traveling the district and going door-to-door to meet voters.
Murphy served three terms representing the 5th Congressional District, which includes much of western Connecticut, before deciding to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 after Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, announced he was retiring.
Murphy and his wife, Catherine, have two sons.
Chris Murphy announced in 2011 that he would not seek a fourth term representing the state's 5th Congressional District and instead run for the U.S. Senate in the 2012 election after veteran U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent, decided to retire.
Murphy won the Democratic endorsement at the convention and soundly defeated former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz in the 2012 Democratic primary. He faces wealthy Republican Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, in the general election.
Health care has been major theme in Murphy's political career. As a state senator, he helped with the passage of the state's Stem Cell Investment Act, which at the time made Connecticut the third state in the nation, behind California and New Jersey, to provide funding to support embryonic and human adult stem cell research. The law created a competitive process for awarding state stem cell research grants.
Murphy also worked on state legislation that banned smoking in the workplace.
When campaigning for the U.S. House of Representatives against incumbent Rep. Nancy Johnson in 2006, Murphy was critical of Johnson's role in writing the Medicare prescription drug plan championed by George W. Bush's administration. He was appointed to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees implementation of Medicare Part D. An advocate for universal health care, Murphy voted for the March 2010 health care reform bill.
During his time in the U.S. House, Murphy founded the Buy American Caucus, a bi-partisan congressional group that supports policies that encourage federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, to contract with American companies for products, in an effort to keep industrial jobs in the U.S.
Murphy also became the co-chairman of the Center Aisle Caucus, a bipartisan group of House members that encourages members of Congress from the two major political parties to sit together during the State of the Union Addresses, to meet for informal dinners, and to visit one another's districts in an effort to improve the discourse in Washington and promote civility.
Amid the country's economic crisis, Murphy voted in early 2009 for the approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package backed by President Barack Obama.
Murphy also has called for reforming congressional ethics. He is a critic of the Ethics Committee, which he said operated under a truce not to investigate or punish fellow members for violations. The House passed a Murphy proposal in 2008 that creates an independent ethics panel that can initiate and investigate claims of ethics violations against members of Congress, and forward them to the Ethics Committee in case punitive action is needed.
Following two fatal home invasions in his district, Murphy in 2008 proposed making home invasion a federal crime and suggested increased federal resources for probation and parole.
Murphy has also worked with a constituent, Janice Smolinski, to pass legislation to help families of missing adults. Smolinkski's 31-year-old son William Smolkinski Jr. of Waterbury, went missing in 2004. Murphy introduced a bill that secures funding for a federal database for missing persons and unidentified remains. It also provides incentive grants to encourage authorities to use the database and streamlines the reporting process. The legislation passed the House in 2010 but died in the Senate.
Committee Assignments: Oversight and Government Reform; Foreign Affairs
American Conservative Union Rating: 4
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 90
Chris Murphy is not up for re-election in 2014.
(Last updated by The Associated Press on August 13, 2014.)