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Connecticut Post - Himes Touted as "Best Chance" Candidate

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Location: Bridgeport, CT

Connecticut Post - Himes Touted as "Best Chance" Candidate

With an Aug. 12 primary approaching, Democratic 4th Congressional District candidate Jim Himes got a boost Tuesday from state officials promoting his bid for the nomination to oppose incumbent Republican Christopher Shays this fall.

"Jim Himes is a unique, extraordinary, qualified candidate," declared state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, touting his fellow Greenwich resident's rise from middle-class roots to a career that has included high finance and nonprofit leadership.

The lone resident of the 4th District among statewide officers, Blumenthal said Himes' background "will enrich the Congress and make him a leader the very day he arrives."

Comptroller Nancy Wyman and Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz also praised Himes, with the latter predicting not only a primary win over his opponent, Lee Whitnum.

"I think he is going to defeat Chris Shays," she said of the November general election.

The event at McLevy Green was not attended by Whitnum, who has piggybacked on some of Himes' other events.

But there was no shortage of other candidates eager to take part in what was otherwise a united front for Himes.

In all, about 30 officeholders, candidates and volunteers held campaign signs behind Himes, outnumbering the other onlookers in the summer sunshine.

They included 22nd State Senate District endorsed candidate Anthony Musto of Trumbull and challenger Marilyn Moore of Bridgeport.

Incumbent state Rep. Andres Ayala, who is challenging former Rep. Lydia Martinez, who won the town committee endorsement for the party's nomination in the 128th District, were both there too.

While Whitnum is the immediate hurdle for Himes, most of the speakers took aim squarely at Shays, a Bridgeport resident shooting for his 12th term this fall.

"We were never better off in the history of the Finch family than we were during the 1990s when Democrats controlled Washington and we have to get back to that point by sending Jim Himes down to Washington," exhorted Mayor Bill Finch.

"I only hope I'm half the guy that they described," said Himes, repeating his campaign theme of restoring the American dream. As of Tuesday, state officials reported that 132,991 Democrats are eligible to cast ballots in the Himes-Whitnum race.

Jonathan Kantrowitz of Fairfield, who ran against Shays in the days when it was so futile he barely bothered to campaign, said he was excited about Himes' prospects.

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