Congressman Jim Himes must be feeling pretty good about his reelection chances. That prehistoric noise you just heard came from Republican operatives who want to vanquish Himes from office. And that’s the point–why aren’t his opponents making noise?
Himes will be well financed with Barack Obama on the ballot in November juicing a Bridgeport turnout, the key to Himes’ victory in 2008. Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, a melting pot of rich and poor, unaffiliated voters, social progressives and fiscal conservatives, features 17 communities including the gold coast of Fairfield County. Himes can win Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, the three cities in the district, lose all the towns and still claim a third term. It happened in 2008. Himes would prefer not to cut it that close, and so far his unknown Republican opponents are obliging.
Where are his GOP foes? Not issuing many news releases and statements. They’re holed up dialing for dough. The GOP nominee must raise $2 million to compete against Himes in the general election. When they’re not begging for moolah they’re on the road pitching Republican Town Committees across the district for support at the May endorsement convention. Secure the endorsement and you raise more dough, raise more loot and you build name recognition. So far there’s no Linda McMahon-type of candidate in the race who can self fund. And that leads to another question. Would Himes’ eventual GOP opponent prefer to run with Linda McMahon in front of him on the ballot in November or her U.S. Senate primary opponent Chris Shays who represented the district for 20 years before Himes defeated him in 2008? (Even closer on the calendar, what about a presumed August primary? Do they prefer McMahon or Shays in front?) Electability is a central theme in the McMahon/Shays equation.
The GOP U.S. Senate winner will face the standard bearer from the current Democratic primary field that includes Congressman Chris Murphy, former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, State Rep. William Tong, and drug reform crusader Sylvester Salcedo. They’re running for the seat of a retiring Joe Lieberman. Party primaries will take place in August.
Is McMahon and her Fort Knox warchest running in front of you a stronger pull? Or Shays with his profile representing the district? The ballot order is president, U.S Senate, U.S. House followed by state legislative candidates. Republican 4th CD candidates below: