Debicella Announces Second Run Against Himes–Will He Ignore Bridgeport Voters Again?

Dan Debicella
Dan Debicella, Bridgeport native

UPDATE includes Debicella announcement: Republican Dan Debicella ran a competitive race against Democratic Congressman Jim Himes in 2010, two years after Himes had defeated 20-year Congressman Chris Shays in the Barack Obama tsunami. Debicella was born in Bridgeport, his dad was a city police officer. Except you wouldn’t have known that by the kind of campaign Debicella ran. The former two-term state senator announced to Hearst Connecticut Newspapers he’ll seek a rematch against Himes in 2014. Will Debicella run from his Bridgeport roots again?

“It’s a game of inches,” Debicella told Hearst. “I actually think this race is much like it was four years ago and will be the most competitive congressional race in Connecticut.”

Debicella has a nice story to share with city voters, a Bridgeport kid done good. A father who worked in city law enforcement. He has an MBA from Harvard and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.

Debicella recently left his management position at Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, according to the Hearst story.

Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District covers a 17-town region that includes Bridgeport and the Republican-rich Fairfield County gold coast. Republican strategists make the mistake of writing off Bridgeport and as a result their candidates are getting croaked at the polls instead of cutting into margins. In campaigns, winning is relative. No, they will not win Bridgeport outright, but 30 percent of the vote (Republicans for state and federal office are having trouble cracking 20 percent these days) is obtainable with the right messaging centered on specific city issues. It’s not just about throwing campaign money at something. The message must be on a level city voters can understand. Here’s how I’ll help the city on a federal level with redevelopment. Here’s what I’ll do about Steel Point. Here’s what I’ll do to help clean up abandoned buildings. Here’s what I’ll do about infrastructure improvement. Here’s what I’ll do about jobs.

It’s not a chicken-in-every-pot strategy. It’s about connecting credibly with voters on the local issues they touch and feel at home.

In 2010 the Debicella campaign said screw Bridgeport, we won’t campaign there except in GOP-relevant Black Rock, even though I was born in Bridgeport, my dad was a city police officer, Bridgeport put food on my family’s table. When you have an opportunity to connect with voters on a personal basis you do it, especially if you have the money and Debicella’s camp had plenty of dough to make a case in Bridgeport.

Will next time be different?

Debicella news release:

FAIRFIELD – Former State Senator Dan Debicella (R-21) announced today that he is running for Congress in 2014 in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District.

Debicella was the 2010 Republican nominee for Congress, which Jim Himes won by 53-47%–making it the closest federal race in Connecticut. The highly competitive race made CNN’s Top 100 Most Competitive Races list, Politico’s Daily 10 (a tracker of the closest House Races), and Real Clear Politics’ list of “toss up” races.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result,” said Debicella. “We cannot expect different results in Washington if we continue to send the same people there to represent us. Jim Himes has failed us in so many ways. He has promoted bad economic policies that have made Connecticut the worst state in the nation for job growth, exploded our national debt by trillions of dollars, and increased health care costs for middle class families.”

Debicella added, “But even worse, Jim Himes has chosen to be part of the corrupt Washington culture—adopting the very practices he once railed against. He writes legislation with lobbyists in exchange for millions in campaign contributions, and spends his time raising money with special interests rather than solving our nation’s problems. Instead of trying to find bipartisan solutions, Himes talks a lot about working together and then votes lock-step with his political party. Jim Himes has become part of the problem.”

Debicella cited the “Himes amendment” as an example of how Himes has become part of the corrupt Washington culture. The New York Times recently reported how Citigroup, Himes’ largest campaign contributor in 2012, drafted a bill for him to co-sponsor that would strip one of the largest provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation on banks. Himes has taken $2 million dollars from Wall Street since his first election for Congress in 2008. “Watch what Himes does, not what he says,” added Debicella. “While railing against special interests and partisan gridlock at home, Jim Himes is engaged in both on a daily basis in Washington.”

In contrast, Debicella promises his campaign will focus on solutions. “Over the next fourteen months, I will be laying out plans to create jobs, reduce our deficit through lowering spending, and improving the quality of life of families in Fairfield County. Whether in my business, State Senate, or community involvement, I have been a problem-solver–and I want to bring that attitude to Congress rather than the current partisan gridlock.”

“If people believe Washington is getting it right, they should vote for Jim Himes. If they believe there is a better way–one where we are Americans first and Republicans and Democrats second–they should send me to Washington.”



    1. Mojo, on this one I’m in full +agreement with you. When he was a state senator I would watch Debicella on CTN TV when the House and Senate were in session and he was something to behold. He always acted like he was the smartest person in the room, he asked these long unanswerable questions and all he was doing was showcasing his ability to speak but speak about nothing. He would add amendments to almost every bill then at the end of the day he would end up withdrawing them. He just loved to hear himself talk. Just listen to him speak.

  1. *** Come on donj, we all know from your past blogs you vote primarily for Dems! GOP candidates have not been your cup of tea or cocoa for that matter, no? *** JUST SAYING ***

  2. Mojo, the Republican party at a federal level is sureeeeee not my cup of tea!!! I will give local Republicans a chance, I plan on voting for Rick come November even though I have some big issues with him and his tea party stance.

  3. *** “Órale, homes,” Debicella put himself in a “trick bag” last time around so he might as well ignore the Park City again ’cause they sure enough gonna ignore him! *** What goes around, comes around, no? ***

  4. I still have a Jim Himes sign in my garage. Not interested in any Republican candidates these days. For President, I’d give Christie an ear but if Hillary runs, forget about it. If I hear Benghazi crap again, I will jump out of my window.

    1. Benghazi, Benghazi …
      She’s a fly and a leech like her husband. I don’t trust her. She jumped ship like a rat to avoid the wrath of the American people for her direct involvement in the deaths of the four who died in Libya. I mean, “what difference does it make?” “We had four dead Americans.” … she doesn’t care about anything but herself. She stayed with Billy Boy through all his foibles with multiple women to keep her political aspirations alive. He was going to leave her for Gennifer Flowers after a 12-year relationship, but stopped when he was put up by the Democratic Party for President.

      1. That’s only a few of the reasons I will be voting for Clinton if she runs. The Republican rant of Benghazi and anti-gay marriage just guarantees their continued downward spiral.

        1. None of my comments were about anti-gay marriage or Benghazi. Choosing Clinton, in many respects, is worse than our current president. Not having the pants to leave Billy Boy is legion among the reasons. Were he a CEO of a public corp he would have been canned for his sexual foibles.

          1. Bob–Only Fox news watchers hate Hillary and mention Benghazi. If not Christie, it will definitely be Hillary. She won the popular vote over Obama and now she will have her cake and eat it too. I loved Bill Clinton and apparently I am not alone. Bill Clinton having fellatio in the oval office is no issue for me and it should not be for you. Better you get upset with pedophiles in religious institutions and make an issue of it. Bill Clinton and Hillary are revered by many and you, Bob, just have to get over it!

          1. Mojo, it’s not about being religious, it’s about not being disrespectful to women. Locker room talk should be left in the locker room.

  5. Lennie, is the glass half full or half empty?

    “Republican strategists make the mistake of writing off Bridgeport and as a result their candidates are getting croaked at the polls instead of cutting into margins.”

    One could argue Bridgeport voters make the mistake of writing off Republicans. What has Jimmy done for you lately? Where is the “change?” Bridgeport voters have done the same mistake by voting in the same Democrats when presented with a better choice. How is Bill Finch doing?

    Cutting into margins? Perhaps Debicella did have “plenty of dough to make a case in Bridgeport.” So did Linda McMahon and we know how that worked out. While Lennie maintains candidates need MOM (Message, Operation, Money), I’d say what candidates need is MOMS (Message, Operation, Money, and Strategy). One critical part of the “strategy” is to start the campaign early. The biggest mistake they make is hiring campaign managers who don’t know shit about Bridgeport even when he or she lives here. The first thing Debicella should do is hire me and Lennie as consultants. Other than that, he might as well hire donj, Mojo, Ron Mackey, Godiva2011 and Steven Auerbach to run the Bridgeport campaign.

    1. JOEL JOEL JOEL, YOU ARE A LAUGH RIOT. Thank you for putting me in good company. I’ll assume that was a compliment. You have become confused. Just so I understand, they hire you and get Lennie Grimaldi as part of the package deal? Will that cramp your style and hurt your amazing reputation? Good luck … I hope that guy running against Himes hires you.

  6. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again with the expectation of a different result. That is Debicella’s mantra. The Republicans need some fresh air, not some fart-filled excuses.


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