Heard on the Hill

Murphy Confronts Anger at Trump — and Democrats — During Walk Across Connecticut

Democratic senator completed his third annual trek Sunday

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, left, talks with constituents in New Haven on Sunday after completing his walk across the state. (Courtesy Sen. Christopher S. Murphy/Medium)

Connecticut residents couldn’t wait to talk about child separation at the southern U.S. border when their junior senator arrived in town during his walk through the Nutmeg State.

Democratic Sen. Christopher S. Murphy started his 70-mile walk in Hartland on Thursday and hit 15 Connecticut towns before he ended in New Haven on Sunday afternoon.

“I’m a little surprised at how often the child separation issue has come up. I wondered heading into the walk whether that was dominating the headlines and the cable news shows but not kitchen table conversations, but that has probably been the most frequent subject,” Murphy said Friday while walking on a road — with no shoulder or sidewalk — in Wethersfield.

This was Murphy’s third annual recess walk around his state. As in years past, constituents followed him on social media to find him along the route.

“[People] found me to express their anger about what the president is doing. A little bit more anger at Democrats this year than last year for not fighting back hard enough,” he said. “I’ve definitely run into a bunch of people who were pretty aggressively pushing me about why they aren’t hearing more from Democrats.”

Told Murphy was scheduled to end his walk at the Long Island Sound, a constituent suggested he keep walking into the sound. (“We’d be better off,” the constituent said.)

“He had a lot of strong feelings. He didn’t hesitate to let me know that he and I weren’t on the same page,” Murphy said. “That’s not the only time that happened, but I like to let people know that — I think some people think that this is all scripted, that I’m only talking to people who agree with me or only stopping into pre-screened locations, but that’s not the case.”

His previous two walks were 110 miles long and took him across the state. This year he went north to south and did it a month earlier because the Senate’s August recess has been cut short.

“We really don’t have as many long stretches as we did the last few years,” the senator said. “I feel like I’m cheating a little bit by only doing 70 miles this year, but you do hit a lot more population centers if you go north-south.”

Third time around, Murphy is experienced at making it through the trek.

“I’ve sort of perfected or refined the amount of miles my body can take, having done this for three years. I did a few 25- to 30-mile days last year and the year before, and my body was melting down on me at the end of those days. So now I try to max out at about 20,” he said.

Over the August recess in 2016, constituents wanted to talk about gun issues and last year, people were focused on health care, Murphy said.

On the road, he met a family that collects and displays antique tractors on their lawn.

“I love when people in DC think CT is just one big suburb of New York City,” he tweeted.

He started Day Two in Hartford, and by 1 p.m. he still hadn’t made it out of the city.

“Badly behind schedule but for good reason. Lots of great conversations throughout the north and south ends,” he shared

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.