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Divorce Or Separation? Working Families Party Denies Himes Endorsement, Independent Party Backs Shaban

September 2nd, 2016 · 38 Comments · Analysis and Comment, National Politics, News and Events, State Politics

Breakups are hard in any situation but in politics they come and go and sometimes they come back together. Break up, get back together, break up, get back together. The Connecticut Working Families Party has separated from Democratic Congressman Jim Himes–in a disagreement on recent positions he has taken–who enjoyed a second line in the past that has amounted to extra votes, but will not in the November general election. Meanwhile his Republican opponent State Rep. John Shaban has landed the endorsement of Connecticut’s Independent Party that will give him another line.

Connecticut’s WFP has emerged as a key political player in the state and has arguably made its largest impression in the state’s largest city where it recently unleashed a bonanza field operation that catapulted state senators Marilyn Moore and Ed Gomes, denied endorsement by the Democratic establishment, in August primaries. The WFP has labor-intensive support that has provided a left-leaning check on Democrats who’ve strayed too close to the center. Livable wages, health care, exposing corporate greed are among the political organization’s specialties.

Himes

Jim Himes, one line.

So what gives with Himes, a Democratic moderate who represents a diverse district that stretches from Bridgeport to Greenwich and takes in several other suburban towns?

One sticking point is his position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, better known as TPP, that organized labor rails against fearing the outsourcing of jobs. Organized labor is upset Himes has not come out against it.

“I have a historically strong relationship with the Working Families Party,” said Himes in a statement. “I cannot, though, make a commitment to vote one way or another on legislation that has not been formally debated and considered. To do so would be a disservice to my constituents and inconsistent with my duties as a representative of 750,000 people.”

What does this all mean, Himes with one line and Shaban two lines? It’s open to debate on significance.

The WFP has stepped up its game in primaries backed by its turnout operation. Primaries are all about identifying your friends and dragging them out to vote. Larger-turnout general elections are more message driven. In 2010 Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley received more votes on his party line than opponent Dan Malloy on the Democratic line. Malloy won the general election factoring in the extra votes from the WFP line. And the debate goes on, would they be Democratic votes anyway? A small percentage of voters, be they Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated that loathe voting a major party line, seek out, as an alternative, another label that appeals to their anti-establishment leanings.

If the WFP tends to support Democratic candidates, a Republican antidote has emerged recently with the Connecticut Independent Party that seems to provide a second-line wash for GOP candidates.

Himes was elected in a close 2008 contest, defeating 20-year Republican incumbent Chris Shays in the Barack Obama electoral earthquake. He’s had a few competitive reelection challenges but nothing considered tight as his initial win. He’s sitting on a boatload of campaign cash against a financially challenged Republican who’s been turned away by traditional GOP donors anathema to Donald Trump leading the ticket. So for Shaban, having two lines opposed to Himes’ one, is something to broadcast as he tries to find footing to a broader audience.

“The Independent Party of CT is a formal party comprised of people who, like most of us, know that politics as usual is not working for our residents,” Shaban wrote in an eblast to supporters. “Like I have done in Hartford for the last six years, I will put you first regardless of any pressure from a party or special interest group. This is exactly what Connecticut needs, and exactly what Connecticut has not had with Himes, Gov. Malloy, Blumenthal et al.”

And the beat goes on during Labor Day weekend, the traditional start to the general election.

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38 Comments so far ↓

  • Maria Pereira

    I am happy to see WFP holding politicians accountable for their voting records or positions on issues.

    When the illegal takeover occurred I had a brilliant colleague in the fight against the education deform movement who had actively supported Jim Himes, tell me about a conversation they had shortly after the takeover.

    This warrior told me he was speaking with Jim Himes about how horrible it was that those in power thought it okay to take away an elected school board from Bridgeport. He went on to say we have an elected school board and how much it was valued. Jim Himes responded by stating “but we are from Greenwich and educated; we are talking about Bridgeport.”

    My colleague told me he was stunned. The reality is if any decent Republican ran against Jim Himes he could not win without Bridgeport. Apparently, we are just brilliant when Bridgeporters vote for Jim Himes, however we are just too dumb when it comes to electing our school board.

    As long as we allow politicians like Jim Himes to use us, he/they will. Don’t allow yourself to be used.

    By the way, just two days after the August 9th Primary, I was sitting in an elderly constituent’s home when I received a call from an unidentified number. I rejected it. 15 minutes later I received another call from the same number. I answered it and to my surprise it was Jim Himes. He was calling me to commend me for a hard-fought election and how he always says the most difficult and thankless elected position is serving on the BOE.

    Thank goodness I was sitting with a sweet elderly constituent or I might have told him what I really thought of him. I was very one-syllable, curt, and rushed off the phone.

    I felt like I wanted to rush home and take a shower.

    • Bob Walsh

      So Maria,
      Confronted by these alleged comments by Himes, you did not confront the Representative to make sure your colleague was quoting him correctly or to have the opportunity to further discuss this?
      That seems totally out of character for you.
      I would have expected you to demand such a meeting before you start posting these hearsay allegations you attribute to the congressman.

    • Frank Gyure

      I wonder if the WFP looked at Shaban’s record or policy statements? The WFP is just playing politics. SHAME ON THE WFP.

      • Maria Pereira

        The WFP did not support Himes’ challenger, therefore they don’t support his views either.

        • Frank Gyure

          Maria Pereira, thank you for clearing up my misunderstanding. I got the WFP mixed up with the Connecticut Independent Party. NEVERTHELESS, I still think it is a strategic mistake for the WFP to “walk away” from Himes. I will make a prediction that Himes will win easily and the WFP will be left outside his door waiting, and waiting, and waiting to sit at the table again. Too bad. I think the WFP has good points and can make a difference. Sometimes there is a thin line between practicality and principle.

  • Ron Mackey

    What is Republican State Rep. John Shaban’s position on Donald Trump and is he supporting Trump to be President? If Shaban is not supporting Trump then I think I can vote for him because Jim Himes has been a big disappointment.

      • Ron Mackey

        Jennifer, thanks, I’ve seen that before but Shaban needs to make a stand, what he’ll lose with Republicans he will gain with Democrats. Just like Trump can’t win, Shaban can’t win unless he expands his base and brings in Democrats and Independents in order to win. Shaban has nothing to lose and everything to gain by being the candidate for the people and not the Party.

        • Jennifer Buchanan

          If anti-Trump is your one-issue vote, then Himes is your guy for sure. While I understand what you want Shaban to do, after the Shays endorsement of Clinton and the Republican response to that, I just don’t see that strong statement being issued. Every decent Republican running is most certainly between a rock and a hard place, for sure.

          • Ron Mackey

            Jennifer, you said, “Every decent Republican running is most certainly between a rock and a hard place, for sure.” What rock and hard place?

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            Party and candidate for president. In Bridgeport Shays received more votes than McCain in some precincts. In my case it was the anti-Palin vote, and no doubt the encumbrance vote also. Shaban is not known district-wide. The state chair endorsed Trump, so how does a candidate receive party support (money), Independent and Democrat votes without party support? I have met and worked with Shaban, he’s a thoughtful and dedicated representative.

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            Incumbent vote for Shays!

  • Bob Walsh

    Ron,
    I do not follow Republican stories so I may be wrong, but I thought I read where Shaban was complaining he wasn’t treated like a VIP when Trump had his event at SHU.
    I think Shaban wants it both ways. He doesn’t endorse Trump but he wants a picture with him just in case.
    And Shaban running for Congress and needing votes out of Bridgeport all of a sudden he feels Bridgeport students should not be treated any different than Greenwich students except for maybe the amount of money the state would need to spend to accomplish that. He wants to claim he is for Bridgeport but all the time up in Hartford he hasn’t voted that way.

    • Ron Mackey

      Bob, that seems to be the case with Shaban, that’s why I put what I said out there to see if he’ll have the courage to make a stand or will Shaban continue to do what you said about him, Bob.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      You certainly don’t follow Republican stories posted on OIB. Darien students, not Greenwich. Shaban is not much of a showboater, not being treated as a VIP doesn’t sound like him. Please, post the link where you read this so I can put on my orthopedic shoes and stand corrected.

  • Donald Day

    I don’t know much about Shaban, but it would be a huge mistake to send a Republican to Congress in place of a Democrat. Over the last eight years we’ve seen firsthand how they can be obstructionist when it comes to running the government. Trump’s gonna lose and as many as three Supreme Court appointees possible, America deserves better.

      • Ron Mackey

        Jennifer, it might not be three but there will at least one opening on the Supreme court and that’s why it’s so important for the Democrats to control the U.S. Senate because they will be the ones who will vote on the replacement/replacements.

      • Donald Day

        Jennifer, I say three because there has been talk that Sambo Thomas is talking about leaving and Justice Ginsburg and the Scalia opening. God forbid a Republican gets the White House because that would be Armageddon for black people.

        • Jennifer Buchanan

          I think one possibility of a Trump presidency would cause both parties to unite and work together to stop his policies. Clinton will continue the partisan divide most likely. While the argument is the people elected Trump via the primaries, the reality is, with 16 candidates in the field, he has a relatively small % of registered Republican votes. CT is one of only 14 states with closed primaries, a lot of his support came from nonaffiliated voters nationwide. I seriously doubt he will take the general election.

          • Frank Gyure

            I am just puking at the thought of a Trump Presidency. I cannot believe anyone with any brains can even fathom the possibility of a President Trump. He is pure jerk. I truly think he has psychiatric problems. AT THE MINIMUM, he has a Narcissus complex, and that is only the beginning. How any sane person could support an insane blowhard like Trump is beyond me.

    • Gary Tobin

      Just what America and Americans need, another four years of Obama in female form. Another four years of selling America out to benefit her own family’s financial gain, continue the transformation of globalization, continue America being the import capital of the world (we don’t make shit, we buy it), continue the stripping and shredding of our Constitutional Rights, continue forcing Americans to be dependents of the Government (so people will vote for the ones who butter their bread), continue humanities in every country that needs or asks for it all the while our own U.S. cities and towns crumble, continue the dumbing down of our children’s education and the training of the children to be good government citizens and the list just doesn’t stop. Oh yeah, Hillary Clinton is an option but sure as hell isn’t the answer to anything that pertains to what is best for America and Americans. Hillary is the option if you support globalization, if you support the U.N. governing the United States. PS, Ireland and Apple are in the news to show an example of globalization and so was Britain along with EU (Brexit).

      • Ron Mackey

        Okay, and what’s Trump going to do?

        • Jennifer Buchanan

          Johnson!

        • Gary Tobin

          Trump has and is breaking down the establishment’s way. Trump has caused more and done more to politics and politicians just in the primaries than any politician you or I have witnessed in our adult life. What I hope Mr. Trump does is MAKE AMERICA AND AMERICANS FIRST. Honor the oath he takes when sworn in as President of The United States. Honor, Support and Enforce “OUR” Constitution. Do what is in the best interest of America and the American People.

          • Ron Mackey

            Gary, really? What you hope? Wow, what a way to go, hope. Why is Donald Trump afraid to talk to blacks, there is less than three months before the election and he has yet to talk with blacks like he has been doing since June 2016 when he started his campaign. His idea of winning is to get the white vote and to hell with Hispanics are blacks. Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate, she’s a liar, people don’t like her or trust her, so Gary why is Trump losing? Because the voters know “crazy” when they see it and hear it, in fact Republicans are running from this crazy man. Gary, really, Donald Trump?

          • Gary Tobin

            Mr. Mackey, are you better off today than you were eight years ago? Is America as a whole better off today than eight years ago? These are the questions. If you feel you are better off and America is in a better situation then Hillary Clinton is your candidate.

            Hope is all we have with campaign politics. Listen to the candidates’ messages and hope the messages are going to be integrated. If you can’t relate to fighting for more jobs, better paying jobs, fewer Americans depending on government assistance, manufacturing incentives for corporations to move back and move to America, remove the corporate controlled government, trade deals not benefiting America withdrawn or corrected, equal trade, America not being the import capital of the world, immigration laws enforced, stop the illegal aliens from crossing the southern border, stop taking in refuges, education responsibilities given back to the local and state government, education curricula back to the local and state government, children educated to be American citizens and not global citizens (community schooling), and so much more.

            Mr. Mackey, everyone says all politicians are corrupt, all politicians lie to us, no politician cares about us, politicians don’t work for us they work for corporate America, politicians are in it for themselves and their financial gains. And yes the all so familiar quote “WE NEED CHANGE.” Donald Trump is change.

            If you’re looking for special treatment or you want to be addressed specifically by a candidate or at least sound like you are, Hillary Clinton is your candidate. If you’re looking for open borders for anyone to come to America, if you’re looking to continue our children being programmed to be good government children, if you’re looking to stay the course America is on right now, Hillary Clinton is your choice. She is the female version of President Obama and she has pledged to stay on the Obama course.

          • Donald Day

            Gary, is America better now than eight years ago? Hell yes. Can you imagine how better it would have been if the Republicans had worked with President Obama just a little?
            Homicides have dropped 13 percent, but gun sales have surged.
            The economy has added more than 9 million jobs, and the jobless rate has dropped to below the historical median.
            The number of long-term unemployed Americans has dropped by 614,000 under Obama, but it is still 761,000 higher than at the start of the Great Recession.
            Corporate profits are up 166 percent; real weekly wages are up 3.4 percent.
            There are 15 million fewer people who lack health insurance.
            Wind and solar power have nearly tripled, and now account for more than 5 percent of U.S. electricity.

          • Ron Mackey

            Gary, let me use the words of Donald Day to answer your question “Are you better off today than you were eight years ago?” Hell yes.

            During President George W. Bush term he NEVER vetoed ANY spending bill from the Republican Congress, none, it was just spend, spend, spend plus he gave tax cuts to the rich that were never paid for. Do you realize what a mess America was on Obama’s first day in office? And his first day as President, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell had a meeting with other Republican leaders and he said afterwards they were going to do everything they could to make sure Obama would be just a one-term President. The Republicans made it plain and clear they would do NOTHING to help President Obama to pass anything. Now you want a crazy liar to have his finger on the button to start a war because some leader tweeted something about Trump he didn’t like?

          • Frank Gyure

            TRUMP IS A JERK. I don’t need to make elaborate and fancy statements. KISS=Keep It Simple Stupid, and Trump is a jerk. I will not even try to make a high-falutin’ remark about Trump. TRUMP IS A JERK.

          • Gary Tobin

            Mr. Day, your numbers are all so inflated or tweaked to fit your discussion. Unemployment/jobless rate has decreased .01 since President Obama took office. “Corporate profits are up 166 percent” and you present this as a positive but the whole stat is CORPORATE profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest level in 65 years. Maybe you could send me the links about the crime stats because the U.S. links are up to 2014. Solar energy and wind power is a little less than 2%.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Good, appropriate move by the WFP. The policies of both major parties have had net destructive effects on the well-being of the American people over the past 50 years. The last administration to have had positive, constructive goals and policies directed toward the well-being of the American people and the rest of the world was the Kennedy Administration (Maybe the inept Carter Administration, a little). The Johnson Administration got off on the right foot, but we all know where things wound up.

    Now we really only have one major American political party, the Republicrat Party, with only center-right and extreme-right factions. The Republicrats are offering no bold, enlightened candidates or policies at this time. A pot-luck, across-the-board set of choices on Election Day won’t make any (negative) difference, but the massive dumping of incumbents could set the stage for real, positive change over the course of the next four years. That would be the first step back toward the correct path for this country.

    Right move, WFP. If the candidates aren’t making bold, progressive policy-change statements, they don’t merit endorsement or support from progressive organizations. Jim Himes votes like a center-right Republican. He should just switch parties and run as a “moderate” Republican, taking the tack of Chris Shays. (He’s no Stewart McKinney.)

  • Donald Day

    Fact check, you people don’t want to know the truth, Gary. You didn’t need me to show you the road map you could have found it yourself if the truth is what you were looking for. I am absolutely sure even after reading this you will find fault as do members of the Republican party. You don’t want the truth, you can’t handle the truth. If you did you’d have to admit the black man did pretty damned good without help from your party of choice. You should kick your party in the ass because America could have been great again if only they were willing to Love America more than they hated the black man.
    www .factcheck.org/2016/01/obamas-numbers-january-2016-update/

    • Gary Tobin

      First, I’m a registered Democrat and because the party doesn’t define me I think and speak freely without party-defined parameters. For the record, again, I voted for Obama in his first term. Define me as a man in line with God, a Family man and a man who loves his country. Notice I didn’t list politicians, Blacks, White, Browns, Yellow, Red, Irish, Italian, French, or any other description you choose to define yourself, me or anyone else. My quoted figures and stats come from the U.S. gov. web page.

      Mr. DONALD DAY, how convenient you LEFT OUT typing the last description of Obama’s accomplishments from the link you provided. Why didn’t you reference this in your comment? Does the national debt affect you? Here is a reminder of that item, “the federal debt has more than doubled–rising 116 percent–and big annual deficits have continued.”

      The racist tag you put on me is a joke. The go-to accusation, you’re racist, is burnt out. Just because someone doesn’t like a black, or white, or brown doesn’t mean they’re racist, it means they don’t like that person.

      The last time we had a discussion I asked you a few questions and you disappeared so today I’ll just ask one and maybe you’ll answer. Are you solely about the advancement of black people?

      • Donald Day

        Gary, you know as well as I the deficit is directly tied to the billions of dollars spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. With respect to my calling you a racist, I looked over my posts and I didn’t see any reference to racism, to you or anyone else on this post.

        To your question, I am absolutely entrenched in the advancement of black people because I’ve lived the discrimination in America for 65 years and I want better for my grandchildren.

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