On paper, Dan Debicella is the man to beat in the nascent stages of the Republican nominating competition in the 4th Congressional District.
The former state senator from Shelton is piling up the endorsements within the ranks of the GOP, which coalesced around Debicella in 2010 and made him the party’s nominee against Democratic incumbent Jim Himes.
Debicella’s campaign announced a second round of endorsements from Republican Town Committee leaders in the district Monday, strongly signaling that the second-time candidate would prefer to avoid a GOP primary come next August.
State Rep. John Shaban, of Redding, the only other Republican to enter the race, is not ready to concede anything, however.
“At the end of the day, if we run the same candidates for the same races, we’re going to get the same results,” Shaban told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers Monday. “Fine, put your friends names’ on the list, but, at the end of the day, it’s delegates and voters that matter.”
Characterizing Debicella as a likeable guy, Shaban said Debicella lost the towns of Redding and Weston by wide margins in 2010, when Debicella lost 53 to 47 percent against Himes in the district. In contrast, Shaban said he easily carried Redding and Weston in his House district race, in addition to Easton.
“The key thing is to let this process play out,” Shaban said.
In the three weeks since he official declared his candidacy, Debicella said that the outpouring of support from Republicans has been heartening.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think you’re going to see a primary in this situation,” Debicella told Hearst. “I think you’re seeing a lot of momentum building behind our campaign.”
Debicella noted that many of those Republicans who have endorsed him will serve as delegates to the state GOP convention next spring.
“People are saying, ‘Look, Dan is the right guy to do this both because of his position on the issues but because of his ability to beat Jim Himes,’ ” he said.
Debicella denied that he is trying to short-circuit the nominating contest.
“Of course, the process does need to play itself out,” Debicella said.
Here is the roll call of Republicans who are backing Debicella:
Darien First Selectwoman Jayme Stevenson, Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei, Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek, New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, Norwalk Mayor Dick Moccia, Oxford First Selectman George Temple, and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti.
Jim Campbell, Greenwich RTC Chair; Ed Dadakis, State Central for Greenwich/Stamford; Gary DeFilippo, State Central for Shelton/Monroe; Jeff Guttman, Monroe RTC Chair; Karen Hess, Westport RTC Vice Chair; Mark Holden, Shelton RTC Vice Chair; Susan Ownes, Monroe RTC Vice Chair; Kevin Moynihan, New Canaan RTC Vice Chair; Art Scialabba, Norwalk RTC Chair; Anthony Simonetti, Shelton RTC Chair; Desiree Soli, Westport RTC Chair