National GOP says Conn. 4th Congressional District race competitive

Aug 14, 2014

Jim Himes (left) and Dan Debicella debate during their 2012 race
Credit Craig LeMoult

Republican Dan Debicella, who is challenging Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes in the upcoming election, has reached the highest level of the national GOP’s so-called “Young Guns” program.

Debicella says his designation as a “young gun” means the national GOP decided his race against Himes was worth paying attention to.

“Basically they looked at the race and said, ‘this seat, Fairfield County seat has been held by moderate Republicans for 40 years before Jim Himes won it in 2008,' and four years ago when I ran we were the closest race in New England,” Debicella said.

Debicella says being on the list means the NRCC will pay for TV ads supporting him. Himes acknowledges this is a swing district, and he says he’s always assumed it was a competitive race. But he says he doesn’t expect national Republican party will contribute significantly to the race.

“The Republican committees have never put any money into this race in the Fourth District, even when arguably I was considerably more vulnerable perhaps than I am today," said Himes. "Which isn’t to say that it’s not an independent swing district. So I take it very very seriously.”

In their most recent financial filings, Debicella had raised about $779,000, compared to more than $2 million raised by Himes. Debicella says his internal polling shows the race is tight, but the independent Cook Political Report and Rothenberg Political Report list the district as strongly or safely Democrat.

Also on the GOP Young Guns list are Mark Greenberg who is challenging incumbent Democrat Elizabeth Esty in Connecticut’s Fifth District and Lee Zeldin who is running against incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop in New York’s First District on Long Island.