Standing in front of the ballpark at Harbor Yard, Republican Congressional candidate John Shaban asserts that incumbent Democrat Jim Himes is striking out when it comes to showing up in Bridgeport to debate. In the video Shaban declares “Even if Jim won’t be here, I’ll be here.” A spokesman for Himes declares his boss has put words into action on behalf of the city.
Shaban and Himes both have their campaign headquarters in the city, commonplace for Democrats, a rarity for a cash-starved Republican who’s trying to connect with urban voters. What Shaban lacks in campaign finances he’s trying to make up by beseeching Bridgeport voters in retail appearances including polite nods to the Democratic political establishment such as Mayor Joe Ganim, a friend, and Town Chair Mario Testa whom he invited to his Bridgeport headquarters opening.
Himes’ campaign spokesman Rowan Kane asserts the incumbent has stepped up for the city.
“Jim’s work for Bridgeport speaks for itself; the $11 million towards the development of Steele Point; the $10 million TIGER grant for the Barnum Train Station project and $37 million for coastal resiliency are all helping Bridgeport fulfill its enormous potential. Our campaign headquarters is in downtown Bridgeport as is Jim’s District office, which aids constituents from Bridgeport and across Fairfield County every day. In fact, Jim’s work in Bridgeport was specifically cited by the CT Post and all of Hearst Connecticut Media in their recent endorsement.”
Himes won Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District in 2008 defeating Republican incumbent Chris Shays in the Barack Obama electoral storm. He has cut a moderate tone in the district that sometimes infuriates liberal constituencies like Connecticut’s Working Families Party, which did not endorse him this cycle. The district runs from Bridgeport along the coast to Greenwich and takes in northern suburban towns such as Redding and Ridgefield, areas where Himes has outperformed other Democratic candidates.
Shaban has given up a safe State House seat to run for Congress. He’s hoping to cut through the static in this schizophrenic presidential cycles with so many twists and turns. It’s a hard haul without moolah to hammer home a message.