In announcing his plan to take a second run at defeating U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, former state Sen. Dan Debicella reminds voters about the old saying on the insanity of expecting different results from repetitive action.
The Shelton Republican lost a tight race to Himes in 2010 for the state’s 4th district congressional seat. Polling numbers were so close that President Barack Obama came to the state to stump for Himes with less than a month left before the election.
But when the ballots were counted, despite a shortage of them in Bridgeport, the incumbent Democrat retained his seat by a margin of about 6 percent.
In a Thursday statement, Debicella said voters can not expect different results from Congress if they keep voting in the same elected officials. But it begs the question: why does Debicella expect a different outcome from a 2014 rematch?
“I think the real thing that’s changed here is Jim Himes,” Debicella said in a phone interview Thursday.
In 2010, Himes was a first-term representative, who Debicella said was “still getting his feet wet.” Three years later, Himes has settled into the role of congressman. He now dedicates much of his time to special interest groups and raising money with House Democrats, the Republican said.
Debicella said he expects the race to be a referendum on congressional gridlock, with Himes representing the status quo.
“People are going to say ‘Maybe [Himes] is not the right guy to be our congressman,’” he said. “Our challenge in this campaign is going to be getting the message out there that I am a different type of candidate, one that’s not in lockstep with his party.”
Debicella characterizes himself as a fiscal conservative with socially moderate sensibilities, “in the mold of” former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays. He said he did not anticipate a primary challenge from within his party and expected endorsements from Republican Party leaders to come early in the race.
Elizabeth Larkin, a spokeswoman for the Connecticut Democratic Party, declined to comment on Debicella’s entry into the race, saying Himes’ record would “speak for itself.”