Sizing Up Tight Shays-Himes Race, Plus: Are You Registered?

Two weeks left until November Neurosis, and the race between Republican Congressman Christopher Shays and Democratic opponent Jim Himes is close.

Shays picked up the endorsement of the Connecticut Post on Sunday in a homestretch that will be full of endorsements and polling spins from both sides. In fact, a new poll released today by UConn-Hearst Papers (owner of CT Post) shows the race a dead heat.

These are the towns in Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District: Bridgeport, Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Fairfield, New Canaan, Weston, Wilton, Easton, Ridgefield, Redding, Monroe, Trumbull, Shelton and Oxford. In her two races against Shays, Diane Farrell managed to win Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Weston (2006). All the other towns went to Shays.

Bridgeport, by far, produced her largest pluralities. In 2004, the last presidential year, she won Bridgeport by roughly 14,000 while her wins in Stamford and Norwalk were by roughly 2,000 each. This means a premium is placed in Bridgeport for Himes to juice that number closer to 20,000 and for Shays to keep it near the 2004 numbers.

In 2004, roughly 37,100 in Bridgeport cast votes for president while approximately 33,700 voted for congress. More than 3,000 voters cast a ballot for president and bailed out. Every time that happens in Bridgeport Shays benefits. And that’s the greatest challenge for Team Himes, reminding voters to fill in his oval.

The biggest difference this time helping Himes is Bridgeport’s substantially larger registration rolls: roughly 10,000 more registered voters than four years ago, most of them Democrats.

Can Himes push closer to a 20,000 plurality to offset Shays’ pluralities district wide? Roughly 64 percent of registered voters in Bridgeport cast a ballot in 2004. The average turnout of the remaining 16 towns in the district was 85 percent.

Let’s assume the Bridgeport percentage turnout and drop off from president to congress are proportionally the same come Nov. 4 as well as voting percentages of the other district communities relative to four years ago: 44,000 in Bridgeport will cast a vote for president while 40,000 vote for congress. Can Himes win 30,000 to 10,000, representing 75 percent of the vote in the city? Shays has never performed that poorly in the city. Four years ago he earned 30 percent. Let’s assume Himes wins by 20,000 in Bridgeport picking up 6,000 more votes in Bridgeport than Farrell received four years ago. Shays’ plurality district-wide was 14,000. That means Himes must pick up margins in other cities such as Norwalk and Stamford–possible, given Barack’s appeal and registration by inspired new voters–to defeat Shays. It’s also possible that turnout in Bridgeport could approach 70 percent, all of which helps Himes.

What is Shays doing to try to cut into Himes in Bridgeport? He’s making a stronger effort to connect with Bridgeport voters on a personal level in the city of his residence: I live here, pay taxes here, I understand your pain and will work with local government to make projects like Steelpointe a reality to create jobs and grow the tax base. He’ll also remind them what he’s done in the way of transportation, highway improvements, heating assistance and cleaning up industrial eyesores.

The votes may be counted late into the night on Nov. 4.

Tomorrow: Russo and Musto.

News release from CT secretary of state

Attention Connecticut Residents: Mail-in Voter Registration Forms Must Be Postmarked By Tuesday October 21st

Secretary of the State Says Citizens Can Still Register to Vote By Going In Person to their Local town Hall Before 8:00Pm on Oct. 28th

Hartford: Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today reminded Connecticut residents that time is running out to mail in their voter registration forms – which must be postmarked by the end of the day Tuesday October 21st. Connecticut residents who fail to meet the mail-in deadline have until Tuesday, October 28th, at 8 p.m. – to register in person at their local Town Hall.

“Time is running out for residents to register to vote and take part in the most important election in more than a generation,” said Bysiewicz. “We have already seen record numbers of Connecticut residents register to vote. The easiest way to influence the direction of our country is by registering to vote and casting a ballot on Election Day. Years from now people will talk about whom they voted for in this election – don’t be left out.”

Secretary Bysiewicz today recently reported that a surge in new voter registrations has pushed the total number of registered voters in Connecticut to over 2,000,000 – one of the highest such figures in state history. Since January 1, 2008, nearly 220,000 Connecticut residents have become newly registered voters.

The total number of registered voters in Connecticut is 2,021,749. The largest group of registered voters in Connecticut is unaffiliated, accounting for 845,311 voters. There are 750,999 registered Democrats and 418, 531 registered Republicans.

Hey, Pull Over!

Bridgeport Police Officer Milton Johnson, Republican candidate challenging State Senator Ed Gomes, knows the numbers are dramatically against him, but he’s trying to collar his opponent’s voting record. See Johnson news release below:

Milton Johnson criticizes Senator Edwin Gomes for his record with regard to Public Safety.

Senator Gomes co-sponsored S.B.671, which is a bill designed to take our most violent repeat offenders off of our streets for longer periods of time, then votes against it three times.


“Senator Gomes was, clearly, not representing the people of 23rd district when he cast his votes on this bill, which was passed and was signed in to law despite his efforts. What troubles me is the fact that he takes credit for enhancements in public safety in his franking privilege mailer. This type of political irresponsibility must not be allowed to continue.” — Milton Johnson.

Johnson states that this criticism is not a personal attack on Senator Gomes’ character, but it is a public display of his record in Hartford.

“We need to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. I’d like to hear Senator Gomes explain his voting against this bill to the residents of the 23rd district, which includes Bridgeport ‘s Hollow section, East Side, & East End. What will Senator Gomes tell the families of the victims of Bridgeport’s latest string of homicides, when they ask him what he’s done to make their streets safer?”



  1. “Milton Johnson criticizes Senator Edwin Gomes for his record with regard to Public Safety.”

    “Senator Gomes co-sponsored S.B.671, which is a bill designed to take our most violent repeat offenders off of our streets for longer periods of time, then votes against it three times.”

    Mr. Johnson you should follow the legislative history of the bill and you will see that only one member of the Black and Hispanic Caucus voted in favor of the bill and that was Senator Gomes.

    The Black and Hispanic Caucus had real problems with the bill for a number of reasons. When Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford and Waterbury were having high number of murders in these cities the Black and Hispanic Caucus wanted to enforce strong laws and gun laws to fight those violent crimes but the house and senate did nothing when those murders were black against black. Also there was the problem of what the first two crimes might be before repeat offenders longer term periods of time started.

  2. There oughta be a mandatory retirement age for elected officials. There is a mechanism in place for removing them once they’ve achieved ineffective status. (It’s called voting the bums out.) Christopher Shays has reached that lofty goal. It’s time for him to accept the gold watch and head to the golf course. Himes has worked for an organization that brings money and jobs to depressed urban areas. That is the sort of work experience Bridgeport needs in a U.S. Representative.

    Mr. Mackey is on target about the apathy of the state legislature when it comes to black-on-black crime. The wealthy suburbs get plenty of state money to build new schools, soccer fields, beef up their police departments (as if the cops in the quiet lavender bedroom communities have serious crime problems that require SWAT teams and the like), etc. When it comes to crimes in Connecticut’s cities, it is written off as an “urban” (a code word for black and hispanic) problem.

  3. Mr. Mackey, I’ll address your response to our release point by point if you don’t mind. Your excuse for our senator voting against this bill was because the Black and Latino Caucus attempted to get tougher on crime in the past, and it wasn’t supported by the legislature as a whole; and so the Bridgeport delegation voted against it, in some sort of childish effort to get back at the rest of the state?
    The proper attitude to have taken under the circumstances, would have been the following: “We the Black and Latino Caucus from Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford and Waterbury welcome this legislation that is designed to help make the state of Connecticut a safer place to live. Understanding that this legislation is long overdue, we are happy that the rest of the state has finally come to recognize that we must get tougher on crime, if Connecticut is to realize its true potential.”
    You see Mr. Mackey, Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford still lead the state in homicides and other crimes of violence so it makes absolutely no sense for any member of those cities to oppose enhancements to our public safety.

    As for you second excuse; the qualifying crimes were listed in the text of the bill, so there were no questions as to which crimes would count toward triggering the law.
    Getting back to my point of being controlled which you agreed with me on, why would senator Gomes co-sponsor the bill, and then vote against it? Was it because he was told that his position must change, by his leadership? If you research the bill, you will see that Gomes was 1 of only 3 senators, statewide, to vote against it (1st and 3rd amendments). So I ask again, who was Gomes representing when he voted nay (x3)? It most certainly wasn’t you, me, or any other citizen who stands a chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime.

    If you support the man, then support the man. But please don’t support the irresponsible actions of elected officials, especially when the public’s safety is concerned.

  4. I think everyone is missing the big picture on the Shays-Himes race … I think Mr. Himes needs the money from the job so he can afford to buy something other than a blue button-down shirt and tan pants!!!

  5. Warren – cheeseburger and all, you have a good point about Rell. She hasn’t said or done anything to help Shays. Maybe she’s disgusted with him too. If he loses and he probably will, want to bet he’ll run for mayor of Bridgeport?

  6. Hey where’s Joel? He must be out knocking on doors. Joel, I’m not in your district, but come by on Halloween and I’ll give you a Hershey bar. Just bought a big bag today. Sorry Warren, not passing out cheeseburgers.

  7. Milton Johnson #4

    There were a number of troubling issues with the bill. “The act prohibits a court from accepting a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest from someone arrested for one of these crimes unless it finds that the prosecutor investigated the person’s eligibility for prosecution and sentencing as a persistent dangerous felony offender. This takes away the authority and power from the judiciary branch of state government.”

    Another issue that the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus had was prison overcrowding issues. The health and safety of the correctional officers and the prisoner was of great concern. State Representative Bill Dyson of New Haven submitted a bill, Building Bridges: From Conviction to Employment, to help to rehabilitate inmates. Throwing people in prison with no plan is what the bill S.B. 671 did not address.

  8. Mr. Mackey, since this is as close to a debate as I will get with Senator Gomes, I will entertain your last post. Having read your reply, I now understand where your loyalty is with regard to public safety. I only pray that you are not the mouthpiece for the state legislative caucus that your posts imply defense for.
    In your post, you quoted, “The act prohibits a court from accepting a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest from someone arrested for one of these crimes unless it finds that the prosecutor investigated the person’s eligibility for prosecution and sentencing as a persistent dangerous felony offender. This takes away the authority and power from the judiciary branch of state government.” First of all this takes no authority or power away from anyone. When someone is presented to the court for arraignment of a criminal act, they are given an option of pleading. They can plead guilty. Usually, a plea of “Guilty” comes from someone who does not care, has no remorse, and is not concerned with the penalty for having committed such a crime. A plea of “guilty” is a rare occurrence. “Not Guilty” can mean one of two things: either they did not commit the crime, or that they did it, but had a good excuse for doing it. “No Contest” or a plea bargain under the Alford Doctrine means that the person is not admitting guilt, but concedes that the prosecuting authority has enough evidence to find them guilty; and so would rather take being convicted of a lesser crime (than actually committed) than to test the waters of a jury trial. The “no contest” plea is the second most common plea entered in court. If the investigation that you referred to did not take place, then pleading “No Contest” to lesser crimes would quickly become the most common, thereby eliminating the effectiveness of the law. “Myth Busted.”
    As for the other issue of great concern “prison overcrowding”, I say that laws and the consequences for breaking them are intended, first and foremost, to be a deterrent. People are not supposed to do these things. The mere fact that prison overcrowding is a concern means that the law is not effective enough at being a deterrent. Secondly, prisons should be staffed based on their population, so correction officer safety should not be a major concern. That said, you again place your loyalty to the prisoner above that of the public at large. Mr. Mackey, we are talking about repeat violent felony offenders. Maybe State Rep. Dyson should work on programs that keep people from committing the crime, rather than trying to reach them after the damage is done.
    We need proactive government, not reactive government.

  9. Milton Johnson – that was a really good posting; makes good sense to me. I wish you good luck in this election, you would be a good person to have in Hartford.

  10. *** Not to take any particular side on this issue, even though I’m voting for Mr. Johnson. If legislation is going to get tougher on felony crimes in general & implement a (strict) #3 strikes you’re out law on persistent offenders, then they must be ready to built more state-of-the-art prisons that will hold & be able to deal with longer-term inmates. That includes medical & dental treatment, food service areas, minimal rec. areas, staff & management, maint. and everything else that’s needed to sustain an independant high level #4 or #5 correctional center. Like the movie “field of dreams”, build it & they will come and come & come! So if it’s the old lock ’em up & throw away the key type law, then the state better be prepare to say “yes” to a lot of money to build, staff & run & maintain all these jails the right way! In the end, it’s the staff, public & inmates & their families that will suffer if the state decides to half-step on these facilities to save $. So if it’s to be done, a good study on everything involved & cost must be done first. Good solid planning is the key to sucess if the #3-strikes bill is to pass.

  11. Mr. Johnson, my comments are just my view.

    “Mojo” #12, post is right on target, that was the direction that I was going. This old lock ’em up & throw away the key and just warehouse inmates with overcrowding will cost the taxpayers more money, that is not a plan.

    Mr. Johnson, are you willing to raise taxes to support the cost of more inmates, if not what programs are you willing to cut?

  12. Bpts Finest … isn’t that the case? What is with this guy and the clothes? It is always the same thing and he is always sweaty … Mr. Rich Guy from Greenwich Himes is all of a sudden an everyman? I bet he doesn’t even know how to change a tire or shovel snow … quite frankly, I feel bad for him, he is just a puppet and really an empty blue, sweat-stained shirt. There are so many more way more qualified than him, he would just be Nancy’s lap dog. Shays really smoked him tonight in Stamford, thank god!

  13. The late Cesar Batalla’s name should not be denigrated by using it on this site the way it is. I’m sure you can find another name to make your point; for a start let’s try using your real name.

  14. #15 You see, this is exactly what I’ve been blogging about! What if anything does calling Senator Gomes a so-called violent felon & the go Andres, down Finch cheerleader blog do for anyone that’s reading these OIB blogs? These are today’s wannabe recognized & respected, possible community leaders of the future! God help them & bless this nation if that is the case. Let’s hope he’s wearing his playclothes & not his school uniform all day!


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