Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) announced Monday that he would not run for Senate in 2012, opting not to further crowd the Democratic primary in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

In a statement, Courtney said that he was grateful for the support he received as he considered a Senate campaign, but that he was needed in the House to help push back against what he termed GOP attempts to slash spending for investment and public safety. 

“Their efforts highlight what is at stake for this district, and why it is critical that eastern Connecticut continue to have a strong voice defending its priorities over the next two years,” said Courtney, who is now serving his third term in the House. 


The congressman’s decision leaves, for at least the time being, a pair of prominent Nutmeg State Democrats in the Senate race: Rep. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyEquilibrium/Sustainability — Bald eagle comeback impacted by lead poison Dems block Cruz's Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill Democrats race to squash Cruz's Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill MORE and Susan Bysiewicz, a former Connecticut secretary of state. Lieberman, now in his fourth term in the Senate, is currently an independent who caucuses with Democrats. 

Connecticut has proven to have a strong Democratic lean in recent elections, leading observers to believe the party has the upper hand in trying to keep the seat in their hands. (The party currently controls major statewide offices in Connecticut and all five of the state’s congressional districts.)

With the 2012 election still 21 months away, Democrats already have to defend three other Senate seats this cycle – in New Mexico, North Dakota and Virginia. As of now, the GOP have to protect half as many seats -- one in Arizona, the other in Texas.

The Connecticut Republicans discussed as potential Senate candidates include those who made unsuccessful bids for statewide office in 2010, such as Linda McMahon, the former professional wrestling executive who ran for Senate; Tom Foley, the former ambassador to Ireland who was narrowly turned back in his bid for governor; and former Rep. Rob Simmons, who also ran for Senate.

Courtney defeated Simmons by a razor-thin margin to capture his House seat in 2006.