The Political Mixology Of Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District

Weicker with Reagan
Don't ya just love blackmail photos? Lowell Weicker with Ronald Reagan, circa 1970, before Lowell was a U.S. Senator and The Gipper became president. Photo by Frank Gerratana who was chief photographer of the Bridgeport Herald.

Where will Bridgeport end up in the potential realignment of Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District? Stay put or join New Haven in the 3rd District? Republican operatives would love to carve the state’s largest city into the 3rd to create a near GOP lock on the 4th district. Courts may decide the issue. Democrat Jim Himes represents the district with Republican candidates positioning for the GOP nomination.

The 4th, a melting pot of rich and poor, social progressives, unaffiliated voters and fiscal conservatives, is a swing district that enjoys loads of attention from national parties with millions of campaign cash pouring into the district. In addition to the state’s largest city it includes Stamford and Norwalk, but it’s also the bastion of the state’s Republican base featuring the Fairfield County Gold Coast from Fairfield to Greenwich. Historically the district clamors for moderate GOP representation. Lowell Weicker (yeah, the big guy elected governor as an independent in 1990 after losing his Senate seat to Joe Lieberman) started the trend with his election in 1968, but wasted little time winning a promotion to the U.S. Senate in 1970 where he earned a reputation for liberal independence including taking on his own party (paging Richard Nixon). Weicker was replaced by Republican Stewart McKinney, another in the mold of independent-thinking pols, who died in office in 1987. A special election to replace McKinney was won by Christopher Shays who held the seat until Jim Himes knocked him off in the Barack tsunami of 2008, ending 40 years of GOP control of the district. Himes won just three of the 17 communities in the congressional district, but the Bridgeport blowout was enough to deliver his win. He won a close reelection in 2010 against Republican candidate Dan Debicella, again with Bridgeport leading the way, although Himes won several suburban towns outright such as Fairfield, Westport and Redding.

Barack is back on the ballot in 2012. Will he inspire young voters to the polls as he did in 2008? If not, a well-financed Republican can be in play for the seat. But which one? GOP candidates include:

Chris Meek 

David Orner 

Steve Obsitnik

With three full years representing the district Himes has shown mighty fundraising skills while trying to balance the wealth of Greenwich and Darien with the needs of his political base led by Bridgeport. This race is just one to watch among a stream in the 2012 cycle.



  1. So Bridgeport gave Himes necessary votes to win? And how different would GOP be from Democrats anyway, if redistricting happens? Not sure. Himes voted to extend Bush tax cuts for the 1%. And when asked why during the conference call, Himes cited a Moodys Analytics economist who claimed prevents double dip recession. Really? I thought that was a GOP argument. What, with Bridgeport houses now short-selling at $87,000, poverty rate rising last year according to city records, and national real unemployment at 16% … So much for trickle down.

    Okay, Himes (and Finch) did get money to demolish the Congress Street Bridge, but if we build bridges and roads in the middle east, why not in Bridgeport? And as for this bridge, isn’t the Fire Dept headquarters on that Congress Street Bridge? Something seems wrong there, a fire dept next to a broken bridge.

    So reacting to Grin yesterday, makes sense for John from DFA saying “Many of the members of our group are deeply disappointed in him (Himes). The demonstration yesterday was about keeping the 4th CD competitive rather than allowing it to become a safe Republican seat. Himes would of course benefit from this because he’s the incumbent, but our focus is on making sure the progressives in the district are not completely disenfranchised.”

    Next Tuesday on Bridgeport Now: Leadership from both and DFA to discuss.

  2. Since all politics is local … if Bridgeport joins with New Haven in a 3rd Congressional District it would give Bridgeport more clout in Congress, take away the corrupt local government’s control over Himes, who has done very little, and make Bridgeport tow the line with regard to ‘entitlements’ the federal government provides.

  3. *** Other than politicians, most of “ZOMBIELAND” residents could care less about the 3rd or 4th redistricting! Local voting statistics in Bpt have proven that in many elections, city or statewide! It’s a smoke & mirrors circus sideshow, with mostly negative outcomes for those watching to see. *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  4. The argument is whether the city is better off in the 3rd or 4th.

    From a political yank standpoint, I don’t know.

    John from Black Rock has made the best argument for the city to stay in the 4th from a representative democracy standpoint. That, of course, may be viewed as hopelessly idealistic.


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