Connecticut Republicans are poised to pick up some seats in the General Assembly this year, but an email by one of their Congressional candidates Friday may summarize how difficult it is to be a Republican in Connecticut.
State Rep. John Shaban, R-Redding, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, sent the Democratic Congressman an email asking him for a loan.
“As you may know, our fundraising efforts have been lagging a bit,” Shaban wrote Himes’ personal email account. “The traditional R support network has been slow to contribute to ‘under-ticket’ races while they contemplate the impact of our untraditional candidate at the top of the ticket. I suspect this will pass at some point soon.”
Shaban, who would have preferred one of the other 16 Republican presidential candidates to presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, said Monday that he was just having “a little fun” in sending the email.
“Here’s the Republican candidate asking for $50 donations from folks around the state and my Democratic champion-of-the-poor friend has raised a half-million from PACs,” Shaban said.
He said his campaign has been going well, but the fundraising has been “ungodly slow.”
According to the Federal Elections Commission, Himes has about $2.2 million cash on hand for his re-election campaign. Shaban has about $50,000 cash on hand. He raised about $91,000.
The email goes onto ask Himes for a small loan “from that seven-figure campaign fund that you’ve built up over the last four terms. I see you have already stashed away over $500,000 in PAC money this year, perhaps a little off the top of that pile. Consider it ‘spreading the wealth’ a bit to help me get the word out about our race and ensure a robust but respectful discussion about how best to represent our district in Connecticut.”
The Himes campaign declined comment.
Himes, who was elected in 2008, has grown his margin of victory from 11,621 votes in 2008 to 14,951 votes in 2014. The National Republican Congressional Committee, which supports Republican candidates, has yet to announce it will support Shaban’s campaign.
Shaban, an attorney who has served three terms in the House of Representatives, said Himes probably shook his head and deleted the email.
Admittedly, fundraising has been a little slow, Shaban said, but he expects it will change after this week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
He said he thinks some of the traditional donors are “taking their balls and going home.” But he’s hoping other funding sources will be there to fill the void in what’s turning out to be an “unconventional” election year at the top of the ticket.
He said he will support Trump because his “head and his heart are generally in the right direction. His mouth certainly isn’t.” But he said he will go with the “well-meaning jerk” over someone he can’t trust any day of the week.
Shaban said he’s running for the 4th Congressional District seat, which includes most of Fairfield County, because the federal government is bleeding Connecticut taxpayers dry.
“Our schools, roads and environment are too important to be run from afar by people we did not elect, who use the bulk of our tax dollars to fund other states’ local needs instead of our own,” Shaban said following his nomination at the Connecticut GOP Convention in May.
Shaban wants more of the money to stay in Connecticut.