Ask Congressman Jim Himes if he’d take a 13-point win today in the November general election and he’d say YES! That’s the statistical lead the Democrat has in a poll conducted by one of his Republican opponents Rob Russo.
Thirteen points would be a nice lead if Russo, a former state senator from Bridgeport, wasn’t so unknown throughout most of Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District which takes in most of Fairfield County. As the ultimate Republican challenger to Himes (Russo and State Senator Dan Debicella are the leading candidates) build positive name recognition Himes will likely have a major battle on his hands due to the makeup of the district. Republicans occupied that seat for 40 years until Himes unseated Chris Shays in the Barack tsunami of 2008.
Himes is fighting Washington more than his actual job performance. Himes is bright, well educated and he has stepped up visibility in his district. But it takes a few terms in office for an incumbent to build enough prestige to overcome Washington inaction. The backlash that hit Republicans in 2008 has now reversed itself and the trend will continue unless the economy rebounds to soften voter anger.
The good news for Himes? He’ll have plenty of loot to make his case to voters that he deserves reelection as he trots out the goodies he’s secured for his peeps. Campaigns are all about MOM…money, organization and message. If the Republican candidate raises sufficient dough Himes will have a fight. If not Himes will be humming a sweet tune in November.
Speaking of Shays, he has placed a binder deposit on a condo in Black Rock. He told me, however, he has not made a final decision on seeking the Republican nomination for governor. After moving to Maryland a few months back, he says, it was always his intention to find a second home in Connecticut. The decision to run will come soon. He wants to make sure his personal finances are in order before making a leap back into politics. That same Russo poll that showed Himes 13 points ahead of Russo also shows that Himes would be toast if Shays sought his old seat. But Shays says his focus would be governor if he reenters the arena.
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