U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy sealed his front-runner status in the race to replace departing U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 with an overwhelming endorsement from state Democrats.

Murphy bested former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz ’83 in the Democratic nominating contest this weekend, winning the support of 1,378 state delegates over Bysiewicz’s 444. But with 24 percent of delegates, Bysiewicz exceeded the 15 percent threshold needed to force an Aug. 14 Democratic primary.

“We haven’t seen a convention be this lopsided in a while for statewide office,” Murphy said in a press conference after his victory, according to the Connecticut Mirror. “It’s really fantastic to know that the vast majority of Democrats, by a three-to-one margin here, believe that I’m the right candidate to be the next U.S. senator.”

Bysiewicz said she planned to remain in the race until the primary, arguing that she was the candidate in the race best suited to fight for Connecticut’s middle class. The nomination of a Democratic candidate is best left to voters, she said, not a handful of political elites.

The winner of the August primary will go on to face either wrestling magnate Linda McMahon, who as the 2010 Republican nominee lost to Sen. Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73, or Republican former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays.

A March Quinnipiac University poll found that Murphy would triumph over either McMahon or Shays, while Bysiewicz would defeat McMahon but lose to Shays. The poll also found that McMahon leads Shays for the Republican nomination by a margin of nine percentage points.