Rob Michalik Jr., a former aide to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, confirmed Friday he is a candidate for the vacant Democratic nomination for the 31st  Senate District, the sudden source of great political drama.

David A. Roche of Bristol, a building trades union leader, dramatically withdrew as the Democratic nominee in a speech Monday at the AFL-CIO convention, saying he needed to work on his marriage. Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz began exploring a run, even though she doesn’t live in the district.

On Thursday, Bysiewicz announced she would not go forward, in part because of word that Michalik would seek the seat with the support of Murphy.

Michalik, 44, was a town councilman from 2001 to 2007 in Plainville, one of five communities in the 31st District. He is a lifelong resident of Plainville.

“The response I’m getting is positive,” Michalik said after a night of hurried phone calls, seeking support.

It is unclear when Democrats will choose a new nominee or if other candidates will seek a nomination that usually is controlled by Bristol, the largest community in the district.

The seat was Democratic until Republican Jason Welch won four years ago. He is not seeking re-election.

Michalik was the district director when Murphy was the congressman in the 5th District. He is now the legislative director for the state Department of Community and Economic Development. He will be taking a leave of absence.


Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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