The race for the senate seat currently held by Joe Lieberman has a new candidate: State Representative William Tong, Democrat of Stamford. Tong announced his candidacy on a taping of “Face the State with Dennis House,” the Sunday political program on WFSB-TV, the CBS affiliate in Hartford set to air at 11AM.
Tong is regarded as a rising star in the state Democratic Party, making history as the first Asian-American elected to the Connecticut legislature. If successful in this campaign, he would become the first Asian-American to represent the Constitution State in Washington.
Tong’s entry into the race makes three Democrats in the field. Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz is attempting to become the first woman elected to the senate from Connecticut, and 5th District Congressman Chris Murphy is trying to become the first member of Congress from our state to jump to the senate since Chris Dodd did it in 1980. Tong, 38, is a few months older than Murphy. Bysiewicz is 49.
There are no Republicans in the race yet, but possible candidates include 2010 senate nominee Linda McMahon, former 2nd District Congressman Rob Simmons, and former Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele.
In his announcement on “Face the State,” Tong talked about his childhood as the son of Chinese immigrants, who owned a restaurant in Hartford in the 70s and 80s. Tong told me that experience is the backbone of his candidacy.
” We had this confidence if we worked hard we would make it and my sisters and I would have better opportunities than my parents. For the first time in my life people have said they don’t believe that anymore. ….that they don’t think they can do better. I am running because I can prove that they can. The American dream is alive right now.”
Tong also talked about his famous law professor at the University of Chicago: Barack Obama. Tong represented his former mentor on the campaign trail here in 2008, including some mock debates. After Obama was elected, Tong was on a short list to be Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney. He got a first taste of politics in 1988, when he worked on Lieberman’s campaign to unseat Senator Lowell Weicker.
You can watch the entire interview on Face the State this morning at 11 on Channel 3, and on wfsb.com on Monday. You can also read more about the development of Tong’s candidacy on Kevin Rennie’s www.dailyructions.com and the Stamford Advocate. www.stamfordadvocate.com