On November 6, two-term Democratic Congressman Jim Himes needs Bridgeport in a big way. Chris Murphy, the Democratic nominee to fill the U.S. Senate seat of a retiring Joe Lieberman needs the state’s three largest cities in a big way as polls show Republican Linda McMahon a threat to win. As the two major parties prepare for national conventions in what appears today to be a tight presidential race nationally, how Barack Obama performs in Connecticut matters to the down tickets of both parties. In 2008 Obama inspired thousands of young city voters to the polls when he blew out John McCain. Obama will win Connecticut, but will voters show up in the same numbers?
According to election stats available on the Connecticut Secretary of the State website, the 2008 presidential turnout in Bridgeport was 59 percent, in New Haven 66 percent, in Hartford 70 percent. Turnout in suburban communities generally runs 15 to 20 points higher. Republican operatives say they’re not giving up on the cities like they had in the past, especially for GOP candidates well financed. No, they won’t win the cities outright, but in campaigns winning is relative. For Himes’ GOP opponent Steve Obsitnik and Linda McMahon, winning close to 30 percent of the vote in heavily Democratic Bridgeport would be considered a win. The city has 20,000 unaffiliated voters to work. Chris Shays’ Bridgeport voter performance never dipped below 30 percent until 2008 and it cost him when he received just 20 percent from the state’s largest city. Shays, a Bridgeport resident, drowned in the Barack tsunami.
Shays’ Bridgeport lament politically was his ballot mauling in 2008. Of course there’s the argument that Shays never really became a Bridgeport resident fixture after moving to Bridgeport from Stamford about 12 years ago. Of the 17 communities in Connecticut’s heavily suburban 4th Congressional District Himes won just the three cities Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, but the results were so overwhelming there it was enough to take out Shays. In 2010, an off presidential year, Himes performed better in the suburbs winning several of them outright. But the economic angst out there puts the Republicans in play, particularly in the western portion of the state where GOP registration is highest.
The campaign rhetoric is heating up. Whether Obsitnik versus Himes or McMahon versus Murphy the charges and counter charges between the camps are flooding in on a daily basis and sometimes multiple times per day. An example of what Himes’ camp says about Obsitnik:
Obsitnik Missed Out in the Democratic Process. Now he wants voters’ support
BRIDGEPORT, CT — On Sunday the CT Post revealed that Steve Obsitnik has missed voting in the Congressional District he hopes to represent six times since registering to vote in Connecticut in 2005. In fact, he failed to vote in the highest turn-out election in American history–the 2008 election that decided the next president after the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression and an election that placed Jim Himes in Congress.
“Beyond his thirty-second elevator speech the electorate knows very little about Steve Obsitnik. This weekend’s story makes it clear that Obsitnik doesn’t seem to care much for the electoral process–beyond his own election,” said Himes for Congress Campaign Manager Justin Myers. “I would hope that someone seeking federal office would have the commitment and wherewithal to spend a few minutes voting when there is an election. Steve Obsitnik said ‘leadership requires specific recommendations. I’m very happy to make a specific recommendation and Jim Himes is not.’ Already ironic, that statement is gaining absurd status as the electorate learns that Obsitnik doesn’t even pass the smell test of democratic participation, let alone leadership. Then again, maybe he just doesn’t know where to vote.”
Obsitnik tossed aside his democratic right to vote in a number of elections over the past decade. He failed to drop an absentee ballot in the mail for the pivotal and historic 2003 election in California that installed Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor. He further failed to vote in the 2008 elections that could have kept Jim Himes out of office. Now Mr. Obsitnik is attempting to unseat the very man he could have spoken out against four years ago; casting a ballot is even a way of taking a stand Obsitnik is familiar with–silent.
Example of what the National Republican Congressional Committee says about Himes:
New CBO Report: If Himes Won’t #StopTheTaxHike, Deep Recession and Skyrocketing Unemployment will Ensue
Expect Devastating Economic Conditions if Himes is Able to Push America Off Cliff
WASHINGTON — Today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed small business owners and workers’ worst fears–that the fragile economy would plummet into a recession and unemployment would skyrocket even more if Jim Himes has his way. Himes has already voted to push the economy off a cliff, but is this new report enough to convince him to stop his party’s job-crushing tax hikes on job creators and families?
“This report proves that Jim Himes’ job-destroying tax hike plan is an economic disaster for Connecticut small business owners and hardworking families,” said NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay. “Is Himes going to finally listen and stop the tax hike before his irresponsible agenda drives our economy into another recession with national unemployment above nine percent?”
Jim Himes voted against stopping his party’s disastrous tax increases in 2013. (H. R. 8, Roll Call 545, 8/1/2012)
A new report by the CBO said that Washington Democrats’ plan to impose tax hikes on job creators and businesses will force the economy to tank and the unemployment rate to spike:
“Tax increases and spending cuts from the ‘fiscal cliff’ would send the U.S. economy into a recession and drive the unemployment rate up to 9 percent by the end of 2013, according to fresh forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office.” (CBO: Cliff Would Cause Recession, National Journal, 8/22/2012)
However, Democrats may not be listening because they already think their failed, reckless agenda has ‘worked:’
“Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan–and it worked. That’s the difference,’ [said Obama].” (“Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event,” The White House, 7/24/2012)
New CBO Report: If Himes Won’t #StopTheTaxHike, Deep Recession and Skyrocketing Unemployment will Ensue www.nrcc.org/2012/08/22/stopthetaxhike-new-cbo-report-if-dems-wont-stopthetaxhike-deep-recession-and-skyrocketing-unemployment-will-ensue/