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2014 In Review: Himes Fends Off Challenge From Debicella To Win Re-Election

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes won re-election against Dan Debicella on Election Day this year.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes won re-election against Dan Debicella on Election Day this year. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – One of the biggest contests in the busy election year in Fairfield County was the rematch between Democrat Jim Himes and Republican Dan Debicella to represent Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Incumbent Himes defeated Debicella in the Nov. 4 election with 53 percent of the vote. This will be Himes’ fourth term in Congress; the Greenwich resident was first elected in 2008. Debicella is a businessman and former state senator from Shelton. The two previously ran against each other in 2010, when Himes won with 53 percent of the vote.

The biggest issue throughout the campaign was the economy, with other discussions also focusing on transportation, healthcare and campaign finance. In debates and campaign appearances, Debicella said that the most successful way to grow the economy and create jobs is to close tax loopholes and give tax credits to the middle class and small businesses. Himes said that the most effective way would be to invest in the country’s transportation infrastructure.

The candidates were often asked what they planned to do about congestion on Connecticut’s highways and problems on Metro-North trains. Debicella suggested creating new on and off ramps on the Merritt Parkway and I-95 at crucial choke points to alleviate traffic problems. In addition to investing in infrastructure, Himes said he supports the creation of a Cross Harbor Rail Bridge to New York that would alleviate some of the freight moved over Connecticut’s roads.

Though both candidates said that politicians in Washington need to stop partisan attacks and mud-slinging, they took several shots at each other over the course of the campaign. Debicella criticized Himes for taking money from political action committees, blamed him for the closing of Derecktor Shipyards in Bridgeport, and accused him of not being effective enough on the economy and jobs. Himes attacked Debicella, saying that his voting record did not match up with his campaign promises on issues such as the minimum wage and immigration.

After Debicella conceded on Election Night, Himes said that the new Congress must find ways to work together and put bickering behind them.

“We are Americans first, and if we are to lead, we must find ways to work together, North and South, rich and poor, black and white, we must find ways to work together to move this country forward.”

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