If newspaper endorsements mean anything (and they can in close elections), Congressman Christopher Shays has reaped a majority of them over his Democratic opponent Jim Himes. The New York Times, Connecticut Post, Hartford Courant and Brooks Community Newspapers, the weeklies that cover the Fairfield County Gold Coast, all have endorsed Shays. From Brooks:
Shays has brought millions of federal dollars into the 17-town 4th District, primarily to the cash-strapped cities. Those dollars have helped to pay for housing, social service, youth, education, environmental, anti-crime, emergency service and cultural programs, among others.
Therefore, taking into consideration all of Shays’ accomplishments, we are baffled that Himes continues to focus on the Republican’s failings. All of the criticism of Shays also has overshadowed anything that Himes himself would do for the district and the country. And when Himes’ ideas and proposals do emerge, they don’t seem to be very unique or original. During an interview with the editorial board, we were disturbed by his lack of forthrightness in discussing his personal finances, especially since the disclosure report required of all candidates is publicly available. In our mind, he falls short as a candidate.
That’s a mighty good swipe at Himes, a bright, decent guy, but I agree: beyond blowtorching Shays in mail pieces and on television, Himes doesn’t say specifically what he’ll do. He says he’ll end the war responsibly. Okay, fair enough, what does that mean? Shays admits he was wrong on the war. His timetable, in fact, to get out of Iraq, beats the Barack/Himes timetable.
Has Himes–a self-professed urban warrior–shared one specific example of how the Rhodes Scholar would use his congressional platform to advance economic development in the state’s largest city? Himes, of Greenwich, will live and die by his Bridgeport performance. This, clearly, is a close race and Himes may yet prevail based on a mighty fundraising operation that has solidified Democrats, but if he does win it will be because of Barack turning out thousands of extra voters, not because Himes has electrified Park City voters. I’ve run into few Bridgeport Democratic political operatives (even the good ones) that are impressed with Himes and his campaign.
They say Diane Farrell, who ran two competitive races against Shays, was a better candidate. Part of that may have been her campaign manager Adam Wood, now chief of staff to Mayor Bill Finch, who has a stronger understanding of the local political landscape than the Washington, DC crew running Himes’ operation. By the way, Woody and his honor Mayor Bill FInch are covering all the bases. Yes, they want to keep a strong relationship with Shays, but what if Himes wins? Yup, let’s throw him a fundraiser on Halloween. And let’s tell Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa at the last minute because former chair John Stafstrom is helping us sell tickets. So it goes in Bridgeport.
I’ve always felt if Shays can be defeated it must be done in a presidential cycle that produces a massive Bridgeport turnout. Unless, of course, the Democratic candidate (from Greenwich) takes the city for granted over a Republican opponent that lives in the city. I haven’t received a press release, a statement, a specific position from the Himes campaign stating why he’ll be better than Shays for Bridgeport.
Jimmy, you out there?