Himes And Debicella Become Spunky

At Wednesday’s Congressional debate in Bridgeport, I saw a public passion in Democrat Jim Himes I’d never seen before, a freshman incumbent who knows he’s in a fight.

I also saw a young Republican in Dan Debicella who perhaps had his best moment when he talked about his dad, a former Bridgeport police officer, who had not recognized the early stages of cancer.

Both are Ivy League intellectuals who realize they’re in a street brawl for votes. With less than three weeks until the general election Himes and Debicella are locked and loaded for the stretch run to represent Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District that takes in Connecticut’s largest city as well as heavy GOP suburban towns. Two years ago, in the Barack 50-year storm that knocked out Republican Chris Shays, Himes won three of the 17 communities in the district, Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, by a combined total of just under 40,000 votes. It was enough to offset losses in the 14 suburban towns to give Himes a close win.

This is a different year. Bridgeport’s general election turnout two years ago was 59 percent in a year that Barack inspired thousands of first-time voters. Most of them will not return. Will the city turnout hit 35 percent in November? Himes had a Bridgeport plurality of more than 23,000 votes. In this mid-term cycle a 10,000 vote plurality will be the norm. That means Himes must court votes in suburban communities to stay close.

Himes, in the incumbency role, must defend his record of supporting the stimulus and health care bills. Debicella will do his best to poke holes in that record. Both are trying to distance themselves from their respective parties in a district that likes independence (paging Chris Shays, paging Stewart McKinney, paging Lowell Weicker all of whom preceded Himes). Himes says Debicella represents a party that will destroy Social Security by pushing privatization. Debicella says I don’t agree with my party on that issue. Debicella is embracing Shays as an example of how he’ll represent the district.

They’ll have several more debates in the final weeks.



  1. 10,000 vote plurality will be the norm??? huhhhhhhhhh!!! If Himes wins Bpt by 10,000 he is in good shape. Remember Diane did not even win by 7000 votes in the city she beat Shays by about 6950 votes. If Himes can leave Bpt with a 10,000-vote lead he should be happy believe it or not the extra 3000 votes could make or break him. I don’t see Himes winning by a 10,000 vote mark unless he gets 75% of the vote in Bpt but that could be possible because I have seen no presence of the Debicella camp in Bridgeport. Himes’ people are working there asses off in the city. I am really pissed off that Himes voted for the Bush tax cut and I still do not know if I could fill the oval for him again like I did in 2008 ’cause it just shows me at the end of the day he is for the wealthy. I might just have to skip the race for congress this year.

    1. HIMES didn’t vote for the Bush tax cut because he wasn’t in office then!

      Local Eyes thinks people who don’t vote have meaningless political opinions–this is especially true for donj, who has all the traits & characteristics of a political charlatan. I encourage donj to rethink his position concerning voting so as to justify his postings here.

  2. donj The tax cut for those making over $200K is not just a tax cut for the fat cats. It’s a tax cut for small businesses who are the ones that create jobs we presently don’t have.

    1. No, it is not. Income tax is not applied to gross earnings of a business, nor is it applied to distributions from S-corporations.

      Very, very few actual small-business owners would be impacted by an increase in the tax rate for incomes over $250,000. And even among those that would be impacted, I don’t think there’s a very strong case that changing the top marginal tax rate would constrain their ability to expand.

      Let’s say a successful restaurant owner sees an opportunity to open a second location, and that doing so would double their annual taxable income, from $250,000 to $500,000. The increase that was under discussion would decrease by $10,000 the take-home pay they’d get.

      Is that business owner going to say, look, if I can’t make the full $500k, I’m going to live on half that amount just because I dislike the top tax bracket? I’m not going to hire those 25 new employees, despite the opportunity otherwise being sound, because each employee is only going to generate an additional $9600 in income for me each year instead of $10,000? Is Lennie going to stop selling ads for the last 2 months of the year just because he’d have to pay more in taxes? I hope that sounds ridiculous to you, because it is ridiculous. Small-business owners decide to expand or not based on access to capital, the overall business climate, and the kind of work they like doing.

      The idea that small-business owners will shrink their operations because of the personal income tax rate is nonsense on the order of “the estate tax hurts farmers.” TC, yes, it really is about fat cats.

  3. THERE’S ONLY 1 THING better than more jobs at small businesses and that is …

    More small businesses!

    The answer to more small businesses is the OPIC, known in some circles as a One-Person Internet Company. Get this: if everyone had their own OPIC, there would be no unemployment.

  4. Let’s clarify everyone’s tax position here:

    Bush’s tax cuts, which overwhelmingly help the wealthy, are set to expire. Republicans want to make them permanent, which means lower taxes but also an additional $4 trillion in debt. Obama and most Democrats want to keep tax cuts for everyone but those making over $1 million a year–thereby preserving the tax cut for the aforementioned small-business owners.

    Himes is breaking with party orthodoxy in wanting to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, but not permanently, just for 2-3 years to help us through the recession.

    Debicella wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, but wants to repeal the middle class tax cut that made up 1/3 of the stimulus.

    I actually disagree with both–I think the last thing some Wall Street banker who just got a 7-figure bonus needs is a tax cut, especially while so many ordinary folks are out of work. But of the two, I think Himes’ position makes more sense. And is less hypocritical, since Debicella is for tax cuts, unless they were passed by a Democrat, and against deficits, unless they were created by a Republican. Himes’ position is at least a bit more thoughtful.

  5. As for the article itself, Himes may lose the Obama voters who aren’t voting in the midterms, but that isn’t the only way this election is different. Two years ago Himes was up against a popular incumbent with very moderate views. This year he’s running against a newcomer who’s taken some extreme positions.

    In the State Senate, Debicella voted against emergency contraception for rape victims, against reporting lost and stolen handguns, and against every health care bill that came across his desk. He wants to repeal the stimulus, despite all the jobs it created and the tax cuts at the heart of it. And his main criticism of Himes on the economy seems to be that the Democrats haven’t cleaned up Bush’s mess fast enough, therefore we should go back to Bush’s policies. And that’s when Debicella’s not lying about Himes’ record–even Fox News scolded him for that.

  6. holet; What jobs have been created by the stimulus? Please don’t tell me about saved jobs as there is no factual information available on that claim.
    Himes has voted with Pelosi more times than not and he voted for health care when the majority of the American public were and still are against it.
    In the tax cut you keep mentioning the Wall Street guy who’s making big bucks what about the small-business owner who this tax cut will help?


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