Christine Stuart photo
Jim Himes, Democratic candidate in the Fourth Congressional race (Christine Stuart photo )

It wasn’t Denver or Minneapolis, but about 75 delegates from Connecticut’s fastest growing third party gathered Saturday in Wallingford to hear from two Democrats it cross-endorsed in their race for Congress.

The Working Families Party delegates gathered at the Carpenters Union on Main Street to celebrate their endorsement of Democrats U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5, and Jim Himes, who is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Shays in the Fourth Congressional District. 

The cross-endorsement of the Working Families Party allows the names of both Murphy and Himes to appear twice on the ballot.

Christine Stuart photo
US Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5 (Christine Stuart photo )

Murphy said the cross-endorsement helped substantially in 2006 when he challenged 24 year veteran Nancy Johnson for her seat. Murphy said the almost 5,794 votes he received on the Working Families Party line wasn’t the margin of victory between him and Johnson, but in what was supposed to be one of the closest races in the country, every little bit helped.

Murphy won his race in 2006 by nearly 20,000 votes, but Working Families Party organizers say that their ballot line could make the difference in close elections.

Murphy said the grassroots activism by members of the Working Families Party was effective in getting him votes on both the Democratic Party line and the Working Families Party line.

“When it comes down to it my central obligation is to try and make people believe in government again,” Murphy said Saturday.

Murphy recalled a letter he received during his first week in Washington DC. It included 10 pieces of advice for the freshman Congressman.

“10. Look up at that dome often. Especially on nights when you’re headed to or from a vote. If you reach a point where it doesn’t give you goosebumps, draft your resignation letter the next day,” Toby Moffett, a former representative from Connecticut, wrote Murphy.

Moffett later sent the letter to the Washington Post.

As the 75 Working Families delegates filed out of the room Saturday they received a list of candidates the third party has cross-endorsed. They were asked to pick a candidate or two and volunteer their time on that campaign.

While the Working Families Party doesn’t have any candidates running for Congress, it was successful in 2007 in electing two of its own members to the Hartford City Council.