A VC in the Running to Replace Gillibrand

According to Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, venture capitalist Scott Murphy, a managing director at venture fund network Advantage Capital, is among a small pool of contenders for the Congressional seat of Kirsten Gillibrand, New York’s junior Senator as of earlier today.

Evidently, the rural upstate seat is in a traditionally Republican-leaning district, but a Republican candidate would be far from a shoo-in after an election cycle that’s left the party reeling.

New York Governor David Paterson is expected to call a special election, one that will likely fall in early March.

While the Republican party has already tapped its nominee, state Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, the Democratic party is still considering its options, and as Roll Call reports, the Dems “are not at a loss for candidates.”

On the contrary, apparently 30 people have already expressed interest in the seat, two of whom are “beginning to excite local Democratic leaders,” according to the paper: Suzy Ballantyne, a top official at the New York AFL-CIO, and Murphy.

Murphy, a Missouri native, moved to the district just three years ago, but he’s already begun raising money and has told local officials that he’s willing to invest an undisclosed amount of his own capital to land the coveted opening.

Advantage Capital has been around since 1992, and raises small funds to invest in underserved states and communities, including in Missouri, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi, though it also has offices in New York, California, and Washington, D.C.

Murphy himself sits on several boards for Advantage, including New York-based GridApp Systems, which sells database infrastructure management services, and SOMS Technologies, also in New York, which makes a next-generation oil filter.

Before becoming an investor, Murphy founded Small World Sports, a fantasy sports company that sold to Vulcan Ventures, and a small Web consultancy that was later absorbed into the now defunct consultancy Scient.

He was also what Roll Call describes as a “one-time political operative” in Missouri.