State Rep. William Tong today dropped his bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination and threw his support to Congressman Chris Murphy. Governor Dannel Malloy also endorsed Murphy today. Murphy and former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, a relentless campaigner, are headed for an August primary clash. So too on the Republican side between Linda McMahon and former Congressman Chris Shays. SuBy’s campaign manager Jonathan Ducote issued the following statement today:
“It is no surprise that the party establishment would support the party insider for the May Democratic Convention. Voters will have an opportunity to speak during the August Primary and Susan will be there to provide voters a clear choice on how to hold Wall Street Accountable and stand up for the middle class. During the primary Congressman Murphy must answer for why he voted to keep the hedge fund loop-hole open which allows people like Mitt Romney to pay less in taxes than middle class families.”
Statement from Tong:
Today, I am announcing that I will no longer be a candidate for the United States Senate.
After a year in this race, these are hard words to say. But I woke up this morning, grateful. I am grateful for the tremendous opportunity few have had, to run for the United States Senate. And I am grateful to the people of Connecticut, especially the thousands of convention delegates and primary voters who welcomed me into their cities and towns, their Democratic Town Committees, in many cases, their homes and hearts.
Thank you, Representative Larson, and my many supporters and contributors across Connecticut and the nation. 1,700 donors invested more than $1 million in this campaign, and I am grateful they dared to stand with me against difficult odds. We surprised a lot of people, and we accomplished much in this past year. I personally spoke to thousands of convention delegates and primary voters and we built a strong and lasting foundation of support across Connecticut. We visited over 90 Democratic Town Committees, attended hundreds of community and political events, and competed in four debates and several other campaign forums. The JFK Policy Center just gave us a coveted “A” rating for the strength of our policy positions, one of only 15 U.S. Senate candidates to receive that honor this year. This was my first statewide campaign. I do not expect it will be my last.
I want to thank my hardworking and dedicated team, led by Marc Bradley, our campaign manager; my staff here today, Mary Tong, Peter Fromson and Will Sharry, and the many other volunteers and campaign workers who worked hard day and night for over a year.
Thank you Governor Malloy, for being a great mentor, and for your guidance and encouragement since I first moved to Stamford. I want to thank both you and Lt. Governor Wyman for standing with me today, and for showing me, by your example, how to serve and run a statewide campaign with dignity and respect for my competitors and the constituents we serve.
I am grateful, above all, for my wife, Liz. Liz gave birth to our son, Sasha, during this campaign. I have asked her for too much, for more than I ever had a right to ask. It is only because of her sacrifices that I can stand here today. Thank you Sasha, Penelope, and my eldest, Eleanor. Now Ba Ba can teach you to fish in the Mianus River this summer.
I woke up this morning grateful, and with tremendous confidence as well. Confidence that Liz and I could make a living and provide for our children, that we’d be able to make our mortgage payments, that our kids will go to good schools and they will have every opportunity in life. That confidence comes from two people: Ady and Nancy Tong, my parents. Thousands of people across Connecticut now know the story of Ady Tong, how he came here to Connecticut with 57 cents to cook Chinese food in the Hong Kong Kitchen not far from here. My parents made every sacrifice so their son can dream things they never imagined.
I ran for the Senate because we need to get our confidence back in this country. I wanted to show people that the American Dream still lives in Connecticut and across our nation. I know because I am living it. We proved to people that in just one generation, you can still go from being the son of a cook in a Chinese restaurant to a major contender for the United States Senate. We inspired people to believe again in the Dream, and to fight for it like we have never fought for it before.
I am going to continue this fight in the General Assembly, and I will be proud to run again for State Representative. It has been my honor to represent the residents of the 147th District in Stamford and New Canaan. I look forward to continuing on as the Chair of the Banks Committee, and to continue working hard to help people struggling to hang on to their homes, to power our economic recovery, and to help create jobs across Connecticut.
I’ve talked a lot about my story in this race, but this campaign was not about me. My story is just a way to talk about the working people of this state, to focus on the challenges we face, and lay out a vision for how we get back to where we ought to be. This campaign was for the 150,000 people who are unemployed in Connecticut; the 100,000 families who will go to bed tonight in a home that’s underwater; and the children and families who fight to overcome the achievement gap. This was a campaign to rebuild their dreams, and to build a dream we all can live.
But nobody can do this alone. I am ever mindful that I am part of something greater, a greater commitment all of us share. And I am proud to say, I am part of a team. I am proud to be a Democrat. Throughout their careers, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor have done what is best for our state, our nation and our party. We all believe that electing a Democrat to the United States Senate in 2012 is what is best for our state and nation.
In that spirit, I will continue to work hard in this campaign, not as a candidate, but as a member of a team. Today, I am proud to announce that Team Tong is merging with Team Murphy. I am proud to endorse Chris Murphy for the United States Senate and join his team.
I’ve learned a lot about Chris in this campaign. We were born the same year. We are both sons of Connecticut who love our home state. And I have learned that he has the same fight, the same grit, the same commitment to working people like my parents. Every time I see him at a debate or a campaign event, I have the chance to look him in the eye and to take his measure. And I know he has the heart, the backbone and the integrity we need in the United States Senate.
Chris and Cathy, Liz and I, look forward with the same confidence and hope as we raise our young families in this state. I am proud to call him my friend. I will be prouder still to call him my Senator.