The Shays-Himes Battle Royal

The big show in November between Republican Congressman Christopher Shays and his Democratic opponent Jim Himes is gonna be a hoot.

That’s because Bridgeport will decide whether Himes takes out the last standing New England Republican in the House of Representatives. This race will play out nationally, but OIB will give you the skinny the nationals won’t figure out–the personalities driving the story within the story.

Before it’s over Shays will likely spend $4 million in the congressional district, while Himes will probably eclipse $3 million, plenty to make a go of it. The question is how much dough will the Himes campaign dump in Bridgeport and what pol will be in charge of playing Santa Claus on Election Day Nov. 4?

Are you rubbing your hands together? Will it be Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa? Or will it be the former chairman John Stafstrom aligned with Mayor Bill Finch? The juggling act facing Himes and his campaign manager Maura Keaney heading into the gut of the campaign centers on maximizing results within a party split. They have the dough to spend, but where? For Democratic district leaders it’s like ringing the dinner bell. Okay, boys, let’s line up! We got a campaign here willing to spend a few hundred K to juice every possible vote.

Mario’s the man in charge of most of the party, but hizzoner and Stafstrom were resurrected politically last week with the Auden Grogins victory over State Rep. Rapid Robert Keeley, the longest serving legislator in the city’s history. Both Finch and Stafstrom weighed in hard on behalf of the blonde banshee from Black Rock: the mayor pulling votes out of P.T. Barnum apartments in the West End and Stafstrom doing his thing on the West Side.

There’s a sense with Himes supporters that Finch is playing footsies with Shays. The congressman, as most incumbents do during an election cycle, is trotting out goodies for his district: fuel assistance, transportation loot, law enforcement money, aiding victims of the sub-prime mortgage disaster.

Finch, a Democrat, has given Himes an obligatory endorsement, but how much sweat will he drop in lieu of a congressman, who makes his home in Bridgeport, bringing home sugar from Washington?

Smart pols do their best to cleverly co-op the opposition party. Shays knows he’s going to get smoked in the state’s largest city with Barack Obama juicing an inner-city vote, but if he can cut into the margins just a few extra percentage points (while running up numbers down county in GOP areas), it could make the difference between sunrise and sayonara.

Stay tuned. We’re just warming up.



  1. Don’t like the fair-haired, silver spoon fed, lower southern fairfield county $ backed, told what to say Dem. party “gabacho” that woke up one morning and decided to run for Congress! At this point in the nation’s capitol we need level-headed, seniority & experienced leaders to help move this state and country forward during these turbulent economical recession times. Another freshman congressman along with a new incoming president soon is not my personal idea of sound thought-out politics that have the people’s best interest in mind! As a long-time Dem. I will be voting for C. Shays in Nov. 2008.

  2. Himes is great…Himes is good…Yay Rah Rah Himes.

    But, he is no Christopher Shays. My Congressman has done much for this city, this state, this country and this globe.

    During the course of this campaign, you will see just what value Shays has contributed while in congress.

    I, frankly, could care less if Shays were a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent. This is clearly a case where this democrat will be voting for the right man, not the party line.

  3. Lennie, smoked is not even the word to describe the win that Jim Himes will have in this city. And what the heck has Shays done for the city? He only works for the rich people in those other towns. Chris Shays will lose his home precinct big time!!! Vote Himes Vote change.

  4. DONJ

    I agree with Yahooy when it comes to Shays and like Bruce Hubler on most, if not all, of Yahooy’s observations and comments as well. He is truly insightful…and clever.

    You ask a simple question “…And what the heck has Shays done for the city?”

    Call this number and ask him…203/853-7403. Then read the political ad he has placed on OIB.

    I think you’ll be surprised.

  5. Sorry for posting off topic. Referring to last night’s late postings, Badboy is 100% right on with his comments about the transfer station supervisor. Apparently the city isn’t listening and Labor Relations intentionally or unintentionally botched the investigation.

    Prediction: The guys take it to the street and demand a full investigation by an OUTSIDE party.

    And GO Himes!

  6. Shays won’t even get 20% of the vote in the city. Also Himes’ campaign is really working hard in Bridgeport and it’s not after Labor Day yet. Himes is betting on Bpt to give him a victory. Unlike Diane Farrell, Jim Himes is working really hard here in Bridgeport. Expect a big turnout for Himes in Bpt. Longfellow for Himes. I’m voting for Jimmy Himes.

  7. Here’s the straight skinny on Himes coming straight out of the afterlife. I hope these down-county ex-blogger dunderheads from MyLeftNutmeg can learn a thing or two about urban politics from it.

    1) Shays loses because of Obama. Not because of Keaney, Himes, or their campaign. Himes comes in strictly on Obama’s coattails. The Himes campaign is as bad as the last two Farrell campaigns. Maybe even worse?

    2) Bill “I was Lieberman’s Aide” “Dem for Joe” Finch will deliver lip service only. He was a Clinton guy anyway and isn’t too keen on the idea of a president of color. He’s a liberal’s conservative with a budget that is blowing up in his face because he has the same finance team as Fabrizi did. This is the group that Finch claimed mislead him and that arranged for the fake mil rate cut that put city finances in the crapper. He kept these folk anyway. Finch needs Shays to do what he can’t do because he is simply a bad mayor spending money like a drunken sailor.

    3) Former Finch Cabinet member and Stafstrom/Finch loyalist Rina Bakalar works for Shays. Anything she needs to help Shays prevail she will get from those two. Himes cannot make the mistake of trusting them.

    4) The Himes camp have tapped into 1/20th of the Dem party. It just so happens that the other 19/20ths of the Dem party don’t like one-termer Danny Martinez, Andres “Familyman” Ayala’s henchman.

    5) Adam Wood would rather see Himes/Keaney fail than succeed. He doesn’t care about Bridgeport and wouldn’t like to see a neophyte blogger nobody like her achieve what his arrogance couldn’t.

    I see Mario getting back on top here if for no other reason that he is the only heavyweight pol the Himes campaign can trust.

    I can almost guarantee you that Himes’ campaign in their infinite ignorance go with Finch/Stafstrom because they “look” and “smell” kind of progressive and liberal.

    Big mistake. They will probably win on the Obama groundswell and they will never know how much the Bridgeport dems worked against them.

    Ignorance is bliss.

  8. BTW: Aboost is just talking up Shays because Chris “Spoilsport” Caruso supported him over Farrell because Chris wasn’t (at the time) getting along with Town Chairman Mario Testa.

    Do all those “progressives” working for Himes remember when Caruso walked against the Dem rep. candidate from the 4th CD? Anybody? Anybody?

    Glad to see that Chris and Mario are talking again…

  9. Campaign songs for Himes

    Ashford and Simpson’s version of “Solid With Barack!”

    “Let The Good Himes Roll!”

    The Who’s, “We Won’t Be Fooled Again!”

    Dylan or Peter, Paul and Mary’s “‘Cause The Times They Are A Changing!”

  10. Ahhh.

    It’s nice to see the Blog return to its comfort zone of ignoring the issues that really matter, and plugging candidates that no one has any real idea of what they can accomplish. How about we get back to talking about the ones that are already in office; you know, the ones that you all thought would be so good when they were running?

    Naah, why bother.

    Smoke ’em if you got ’em!

  11. The Ghost of Mandy is onto something. It’s a done deal that Obama will be the Democratic candidate for POTUS. Himes is the endorsed, i.e., top-line Democratic candidate for the 4th congressional district. Obama is very popular in Bridgeport. Back in the day, folks’d pull the party lever to vote for their presidential candidate of choice, which would cast votes for all pols on the ticket. That can happen in November. Himes could very well carry the day. Shays has done a fair amount of good works for BPT, most recently the “weed and seed” program money. But Himes is a much stronger candidate than Diane Farrell, and she ran a close second in the final tally.

  12. Tony D is in the news again. CT Post A5. It seems as if the transfer station can not process recycled motor oil because the tank is contaminated and no one knows who is in charge with Tony D being suspended.
    I know a neighbor who showed up at the transfer station in a truck that was borrowed from someone who lives out of town but with a CT Driver’s license and a copy of a current tax bill for the city. They were refused but were told if they rented a U-Haul they would be allowed to dump. Even though the only proof of residency that they would have would be a CT Driver’s license which is what they had when turned away.
    So the city cannot figure out what to do with Tony D while at the same time Bridgeport taxpayers are refused services that they used to receive. Go figure.

  13. It has been a long time since I posted on this blog, but today’s subject is particularly appealing. I think Jim Himes is the most inspiring candidate to come along in a very long time. He talks about the America I want to believe in. He is worried about our future and the fact that the American Dream is slipping away. He will support returning my rights that people like Bush, Shays and Lieberman eroded away. Himes wants out of Iraq, and supports getting funding for the Congress Street Bridge. Shays has openly said he won’t work to get that bridge open. Himes is not mired down and jaded like most career politicians, especially the ones in Bridgeport. I find it appalling that Finch, Wood and Stafstrom are being coy and disingenuous with their support of Himes. I am very glad Jim and his staff are building a strong relationship with Mario and Dottie Guman.

    Finch cannot cut the Lieberman umbilical cord with comes attached to the placenta of John McCain. Obama will win in 2008 so just what good would the last Republican congressperson from New England do with a Democratic President in Congress. The answer is less than he is now and now is not so great. Stafstrom and Bakalar are still like peas in a pod and I find her mercenary behavior in going with Shays a bit disgusting. I think perhaps any information Stafstrom gets about Himes goes right back to her. Also, Stafstrom still has Finch by the male genitals, and Wood is so jealous that someone else is going to do what he couldn’t that he is turning purple. I feel very sad for Bridgeport that the Mayor’s office is nothing but a political brokerage firm. If Finch wants Wood around, make him a political consultant not the CAO. Also, the only depth that Stafstrom has is in his pockets. Himes cares about the real people of Bridgeport, he will deliver so much more than Shays ever could. I prefer the genuine article to chameleon Shays.

  14. I wish I could share everyone’s assurance of an Obama win in November. I do not have the confidence of that outcome as so many others on this blog. In fact, I think quite the opposite. I, regrettably, forecast a McCain win. Unless the youth, black, liberal and urban votes turn out en masse, then I believe we will be stuck with four more years of the same old same old.

  15. What Shays doesn’t want you to know is that Chris Murphy and Joe Courtney, two Congressional freshmen from Connecticut, are both bringing home more bacon to their districts!

    That’s right, a Democrat who’s been in Congress for less than a term has more clout than the 21-yr incumbent Chris Shays.

    It doesn’t help that Shays talks down to Nancy Pelosi consistently, often calling her “that woman”.

    I firmly believe that Bridgeport will act in its best interests and deliver the district for Jim Himes. I also believe that Himes will in turn deliver to Bridgeport in ways that Shays, (forever unpopular within his own party), never could.

    The Democratic majority in Congress will pay to hold Fairfield County’s congressional seat, just as they coughed up a second subcontract on behalf of Joe Courtney in eastern CT.

  16. TrueBlueCT as you can see the majority of the people on here support Himes. And you are correct when you say “I firmly believe that Bridgeport will act in its best interests and deliver the district for Jim Himes.” The turnout in Bpt will be very very big. From Black Rock to Central over to Dunbar precinct we will see Himes easily sweep Shays across from end to end in this wonderful city. North, South, East, West. Himes will win all over by huge margins.

  17. Polyanna; I don’t know where you get your information from but there is no great working relationship between Mario Testa & Dottie Guman. In the recent primaries Himes backed the non-party endorsed candidates and not the candidates backed by Testa and Guman.
    There has been very little communication between Testa, Guman and Himes. As of today I do not see Testa breaking a sweat for Himes.
    I for one like the fact that Shays lives here and pays taxes here in Bridgeport. He can well afford to live down state but chooses not to.

  18. I am also a big Himes supporter and I could care less where Shays lives because here in Bridgeport Shays is very unpopular. And the base of Shays’ support comes from those rich areas where Bush and Shays decided to give those rich people tax breaks meanwhile the working class in Bridgeport does not get any type of breaks. I bet Shays has never been around the East End, East Side, South End to see how people are living. And you say Shays is bringing home the bacon??? You are wrong wrong wrong. Bridgeport has the hospitals, the dumps the sewage and all those things and my point about that is there are thousands of people who live in the towns next to us who use our hospitals because they don’t have one for themselves and all the garbage from the surrounding towns comes here and gets dumped and they use our sewage lines also. So what I’m trying to make clear is Chris Shays is shortchanging us. We should be getting much more money because we have all of the things.

  19. Wondering, I don’t know where you get your information. Himes backed all of the Democratic endorsed candidates. Don’t get your information confused because one endorsed candidate shared space with 2 unendorsed ones. Although I won’t waste any more text trying to convince you; you will soon see the proof. TruBluCT you are so right. Murphy and Courtney have delivered for CT. Himes will make a wonderful addition to the DeLauro, Murphy, Courtney, Larsen contingent.

  20. Isn’t our congressional race full of ironies. Shays, republican, living in the poorest place in the district and Himes, democrat, living in one of the wealthiest. Shays has crossed party lines to vote on prinicples and not just politics. Himes supporters want a party lemming to march only to the beat of Pelosi/Obama drums. Shays has delivered to every part of the district. Himes probably couldn’t find his way around it without an escort. Mayors Finch and Malloy need to be quiet lest Shays starts showing pics of them smiling when they accept those federal checks that Shays delivers.

    I think things will be tough for Shays because of the party machine. Think who has produced and who has the capacity to do more. Unless you have a big D stamped on your head, you’ll consider keeping a good thing…and vote Shays.

  21. pollyanna2–you have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?

    A. From his postings, it’s clear that Wondering is Mario’s stooge, so he would know about any relationship with Himes.
    B. Wood isn’t even the CAO.

    Is there any part of your posts that’s correct?

    Go back, do some studying up, and come back to post when you’re ready.

  22. I think the new voting procedure will help Shays; it is a lot easier to split your vote with these ballots. I would assume that Obama will take Bridgeport but it is a long time between now and November and I am still trying to understand what Obama stands for as he keeps changing positions. For all of you that think we will be in Nirvana if he wins I urge you to read the book Fleeced by Dick Morris former chief aide to Bill Clinton.

  23. Interesting story in compost today regarding Congress Street Bridge with Himes and Shays. Shays’ office says that the Mayor and Business Council don’t feel the urgency to link East Side with Downtown. That’s a ringing endorsement for Himes. I appreciate Himes advocating for Bridgeport but I would also like him to start talking about the 79 billion Iraqi Surplus Dollars sitting in United States Banks while we are underwriting a war and infrastructure costs for this oil-soaked country.

    How ’bout it Jim?

  24. Solid as Barack- I also plan on voting for all those candidates as well. As everybody knows after the primary I was gong to vote for Russo but I’m voting for Musto now. Reason is I feel it should be a democratic year and Russo votes against minimum wage. And here in Bpt you can not vote against somethng like that.

  25. Grin Reaper:

    You are absolutely right about this problem @ the transfer station.

    In reading today’s news article, my opinion would be as I have said before, Tony D is not part of the problem, but rather a victim of intimidation tactics from a few disgruntled or jealous employees.

    First of all, it is the Weigh Master’s responsibility to use sound business decisions when letting residents dump. Obviously with your neighbor’s problem, it doesn’t sound like this is being done!

    Likewise, he is the person to police what is coming in for disposal. Every effort should be made on his part to at least minimize contaminants from being disposed of inside the oil tank.

    And not knowing who is responsible for the maintanence of the tank is a lame-duck excuse to say the least.

    Hopefully the investigation will divert to the people responsible for the deliberate attacks on Tony.

    As I have said before and I will say again, give them enough rope and they will hang themselves!

  26. Go Easton. Go Ridgefield. Go Wilton. Go Darien. Go Fairfield. Go Trumbull. Go Greenwich. Go Shelton. Go Black Rock School too. All will vote for Shays. And then Himes will crawl back to Greenwich. Shays is going to kick Himes’ hiney!

  27. The Himes campaign has asked the Obama campaign if Obama can come to the district and campaign with Himes. And there is a big possibility of this happening. If this plan happens and Himes campaigns with Obama in Bridgeport I will find it hard for Shays to get even 15% of the vote in Bpt. And expect Norwalk and Stamford to give Himes a good margin of Victory there too. Expect this race to be called early on election night for Himes.

  28. I was going to vote for Rob but I guess I was just mad that Moore lost but now I am over it and I’m backing Musto 100%. Like John from Black Rock said, we need a bigger majority in Hartford to get things done and I agree so I will be voting for Musto even though I liked Moore better.

  29. I am very happy to see after the primary the Democrats are getting united in supporting Musto. It was just a matter of time ’til everybody fell in line and backed Musto. Russo voted against minimum wage and that’s what made a lot of people angry. Vote straight Dem come November. And I see many people on this blog are supporting Himes and that is good.

  30. Summer wind what you don’t understand about Bpt is we don’t vote for guys like Shays, who is a do-nothing guy. 80% of the people on this blog support Himes. You sound more like dumber wind.

  31. Yahooy (#36) has it right. Who has presided over Bridgeport’s government for the past 15 years? Democrats WITH ABSOLUTE CONTROL!
    Take a look around. Do you like what you see???
    If you do, keep voting Democrat.
    But may I say, before you take a look around, I suggest that you take a look around all the towns to the south (and to the north for that matter) first. If you see some similarity between the way they look and the way Bridgeport looks, then I suggest that you keep voting Democrat. Some of those towns may be run by Democrats but I can tell you that their policies have been all but Democratic. They are run by imaginative and intelligent people.
    As yet, I see no cranes swinging around Bridgeport and I don’t hear of businesses clamoring to take up residency here.
    Further, I understand that the dropout rate in Bridgeport is 65%, crime is up, business is leaving, the police department leaves a lot to be desired, the streets are filthy and falling apart, Congress St. bridge has been disabled for 10 years, the bridge to Pleasure Beach has been burned out for 20 years, the Wheeler Fountain hasn’t operated in 20 years, slums and garbage surrounding them abound, and the City is on the brink of bankruptcy. Need I go on???

  32. I’m happy to read that people are sticking (for the most part) to the political issues, enough about this “Tony fella.” (ad nauseum). Personally, I don’t care if he’s a saint or a sinner, it’s just ridiculous how some people just keep finding reasons to refer to him. I rely on the old adage that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. As far as Himes/Shays, Bridgeport is due for a change and I believe Himes will work well with Rosa DeLauro for the good of the urban cities. I read that Shays is on another jaunt to Iraq, shouldn’t he be campaigning? If he’s that sure of winning – he shouldn’t be, unless the Iraqis are voting (kidding of course).

  33. donj–regarding your post #44, now you’re on the right track. Hillary wasn’t a sore loser and is now campaigning for Obama, and that’s how it should be. I don’t think we need four more years of a Republican in the oval office. Bush has done this country enough damage to last a lifetime and McCain is cut from the same cloth. I’m hanging in suspense to see who Obama chooses for a running mate and to be truthful, I hope it’s Hillary.

  34. Thanks donj, if I lived in Bridgeport, he’d have my vote. I do know for sure my friends in Bridgeport are all planning to vote for him. He should emerge victorious in Bridgeport–no doubt.

  35. velvet underground, you are right but I don’t think he will pick Hillary but if he does that is a dream ticket and I know wondering will vote for him if he picks her.

  36. Hey let me in on the joke … all the Republicans on here are getting outnumbered by us too bad they always have the least support. Anyway you guys were talking about vp pick for Obama and I just heard we will know by Saturday.

  37. donj–It’s the best we can hope for; it would be ideal. We’ll know next Tuesday since the convention will begin, unless he reveals his choice beforehand. I can’t help but wonder who McCain’s choice is as well.

  38. I must confess that years ago when I lived in Bridgeport, I voted for Shays, but he’s not the man he used to be. I used to admire his ability to vote for the good of the people who elected him. Now he’s just a Bush supporter. Lieberman, by the way, is even more repugnant, having done an about-face in favor of Bush as well. These men have done a complete 360 and it’s very disconcerting.

  39. Pollyanna2 wrote:

    “Himes will make a wonderful addition to the DeLauro, Murphy, Courtney, Larsen contingent”.

    Shays must stay! The Economy, the war and healthcare issues are three of the many issues that concern the majority of Connecticut and America’s citizens. Both the national Democratic Party and Connecticut Democrats want to blame our troubles on one man. The national Party blames Bush only and the fourth Congressional Democrats blame Chris Shays only. Democrats have been in control of Congress for 2 years now and there are four Democrats representing Connecticut along with Shays. The DeLauro, Murphy, Courtney, Larsen contingent should be held even more responsible for the problems of Connecticut and the nation more so than Chris Shays. For fourth Congressional district Democrats to advocate change in the district based on their arguments against Shays, It’s for them to advocate change in the other Congressional districts. So, what the Himes supporters are advocating is one Democrat and four Republicans from Connecticut in the House of Representatives. Over fifteen years of Bridgeport Democratic control, more years of Democratic control of the State House and Senate, the Secretary of the State and Attorney General’s Office, Democratic control of the U.S. Congress and Senate and you expect intelligent voters to buy into your bullshit arguments for Himes?
    Look at NObama’s district in Chicago by reading the sun times at: www Read and see how much better off we are here in Connecicut’s fourth Congressional district. I’d take four Connecticut Republican Representatives to one Himes. Chris Shays could come back home and get ready to be Mayor Shays.

    The last bloggers who should give any opinion of who Bridgeporters should elect are those who have left this city for velvet underground’s New haven.

  40. The city is in a deficit and this makes me wonder why they have posted a new position to be filled on the city website. This is another one of those “made up for a friend” positions. It is a position to be a secretary to the City Council. I thought that the City Clerk’s Office took care of the council’s paperwork. And can you believe the salary? 38-48 per year. I wonder which political “friend of the mayor” is going into this one? It does say that there is an exam to be held. My thing is Why are they still creating new positions when they are about to lay people off?

  41. “The Economy, the war and healthcare issues are three of the many issues that concern the majority of Connecticut and America’s citizens.”

    Joel my friend – These are 3 of the most important reasons we need to vote Shays out of office and Himes and Obama into office. Throw in the economy and civil liberties and Shays and the Republicans are 0 for 5.
    Have a good night.

  42. Are you superstitious; inclined to believe in fate or destiny? Well, is it possible that the reason Obama has come this far as the Dem. nominee & in his quest to be the first minority President, his destiny in our lifetime and the world’s??? Or is it fate, that allowed McCain to survive as a P.O.W. in the Hanoi Hilton for those years so he could be President someday??? And in what separate paths would they lead us if elected U.S President??? Is Obama not white enough or too black; is McCain too old & set in his ways??? Who is best to lead this country in these uncertain times in the world & can their pick of the V/P hurt their election bid for the White House??? Only time will tell.


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