(CT-04) DKos' DHinMI in as Himes' "closer."

As reported by Ctlocalpolitics.net:

...Jim Himes has a new campaign manager, Dana Houle. Houle was a chief of staff to Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH), and one of the contributing editors at Daily Kos.

While some of the more conservative journalists and bloggers in the area tried to make hay out of this, supposed, '9th-inning' move on Himes' part, the Stamford Advocate, one of the larger dailies in the district, ran the following comment from previous Himes' campaign manager Maura Keaney in a front-page story, today, entitled: "Himes shakes up his staff."

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CT-04: Chris Shays Claims To Be One Part Obama One Part McCain

I think I threw up a little in my mouth as Republican Congressman Chris Shays's new ad began:

The hopefulness of Obama. The straight talk of McCain...

...and still more as it ended...

Everyone has a congressman, we have Christopher Shays.

Is this guy serious? I know he likes to blur the distinctions between himself and his Democratic challenger every two years but this is ridiculous. But, I suppose, what else is the last remaining Republican congressman from New England who represents a D+5 district to do?

Watch it:

The truth is, Shays is a staunch supporter of John McCain's -- in fact is one of his honorary Connecticut co-chairs -- and is actively trying to defeat Barack Obama. And as for Shays' claim to be "independent", well, the Jim Himes campaign dispatches that myth:

Statistical analysis of Chris Shays’ votes reveals that when it counts, Shays has been a loyal servant of the Republican Party. On the closest votes—when his vote has the most power to affect the outcome, when the Republican Party most needs his support, and when 4th District residents most need him to make the right choice—Shays has lined up behind his Party’s leadership 89% of the time, or nine out of ten times.

This finding—based on analysis of the 1,752 votes cast in the 110th Congress—shows that Shays is not “purple” as he claims, but is, in fact, a true Republican partisan. Real political courage doesn’t mean crossing the aisle when it’s safe and easy; it means exercising independent judgment on the close votes where your decision can really make a difference.

Every two years Shays pulls this crap and it's about time, now that the 4th district has such an excellent Democratic alternative in Jim Himes, that the 4th district stood up and said "we don't need a fake Democrat when we've got the real thing."

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Primary night in CT & CO-- (update) Jared Wins!

It's been a while since we've had a primary night. Tonight, as Todd blogged about earlier, there's one happening in the CT-04 contest. Liveblogging, it already looks over, with Himes up 80-11 with 80 percent reporting.

Another state counting the votes right now is Colorado. The CO-02 contest is very close, in the early returns. I have been working with the Jared Polis campaign and their internet strategy this cycle, and in the early counting, he is ahead by a slim margin over Joan Fiztgerald, with Will Shafroth in 3rd.

ColoradoPols, where Jared posted on Sunday, along with SquareState, Colorado Independent, and Liberal and Loving It, are also following the 2nd CD primary.

Update [2008-8-13 0:39:8 by Jerome Armstrong]: Woo Hoo, Polis wins in the 2nd CD, congrats Jared! Matt Stoller blogs about the race and the storyline that will come out of it-- that Jared is the first ever openly gay elected person for Congress. Now, that wasn't what Jared ran on at all, it just happens to be an interesting personal characteristic. And Matt is right on in labeling Jared as "Polis is innovative, young, and web 2.0-embracing." We will be hearing much more from Congressman Polis.

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CT-04: Primary Day For Jim Himes

You'll recall from two years ago that Connecticut's statewide primary elections are unusually late, and this year is no exception. Back down in my parents' district -- CT-04 -- and all throughout Connecticut, today is primary day.

Jim Himes, the progressive Democrat poised to take out Chris Shays -- aka the last remaining Republican congressman in New England -- in CT-04 this November, does have a primary opponent he needs to dispatch. While Jim was endorsed for the Democratic nomination at the Democratic state convention in May, Lee Whitnum forced the primary election via petition. Whitnum's remarkable lack of a resume or any fundraising to speak of makes one wonder why she would even bother, but the Himes campaign is taking the challenge seriously, as they should.

First of all, this primary is going to be an extremely low turnout election, so nothing can be taken for granted. But also, this primary is an opportunity. The more people who do turn out for Jim today, the bigger a warning shot he can deliver to Shays. It's also a chance to raise Jim's profile in the district. All today, Jim will be greeting voters at various voting locations throughout the district (you can see the schedule HERE) and he'll be joining supporters at a results watching party tonight at The Black Bear Saloon in Norwalk after polls close at 8pm.

In addition, today's primary has given newspapers an excuse to write primary endorsement editorials and, well, you can't buy the sort of write-up Jim got from The Darien News-Review on Friday:

Jim Himes is uniquely qualified to serve as our representative in Washington. A Rhodes Scholar, a former Goldman Sachs VP, and currently an executive at the nonprofit group Enterprise Community Partners, Jim has spent the last several years using his considerable talents to bring out the best in our community.

At Enterprise, Jim helped transform neighborhoods throughout the metropolitan region by leading the effort to build thousands of affordable housing units, many of which made use of green technologies to reduce utility costs. Jim understands that we can create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and preserve our environment by making a commitment to building green and investing in new technology. [...]

Most impressive has been the integrity and character Jim has displayed throughout his campaign. He speaks from the heart, and he brings new ideas and fresh energy to bear on the challenges we face. For all these reasons we believe Jim Himes will be an outstanding Congressman and he has earned our enthusiastic support.

So, if you're in the district, don't forget to vote for Jim today (find polling place HERE.) If you're not in the district, you can still support Jim by contributing to Jim Himes for Congress to help send the last Republican from New England left in the House packing and give my parents some real representation in congress for a change. Also, check out some primary day pics over at the Jim Himes blog.

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CT-04: Jim Himes Rising

Jim Himes, the Democrat challenging Rep. Chris Shays in CT-04, made a strong impression in Austin, not only at the Future Leaders panel where he passionately expressed his belief in the rule of law and his fierce opposition to the recent FISA cave, but also at the candidates event where he stood out in a crowded field and at the pub quiz where he worked the room and stayed to compete. I've met Jim a few times now and I always leave feeling that, yes, he's a smart capable and passionate guy who will he be a strong Democrat in congress, but also that he can actually get there in the first place -- that he can win against the entrenched and extremely well-funded Chris Shays, aka the last Republican in New England.

Conventional wisdom is beginning to catch up with that assessment. Yesterday, Congressional Quarterly upgraded the race from "Leans Republican" to "No Clear Favorite."

Rep. Christopher Shays ' ability to withstand strong Democratic challenges even in unfavorable national climates led CQ Politics initially to rate this race as Leans Republican, but former investment banker Jim Himes is expected to present a serious challenge that will be aided by coattails from the presidential race. Diane Farrell, the former first selectwoman of Westport, was a strong candidate against Shays in 2004 and 2006, losing by less than 5 points each time. Turnout was relatively low in this southwestern district's largest city, Bridgeport, in 2006 but should be higher in 2008. Thirty percent of the city's residents are black and increased turnout for presumed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama could boost the Democratic ticket down ballot and help push Himes to a win. Both candidates are well funded for the contest; each raised more than $2 million as of June 30. Shays reported $1.7 million on hand by the end of June while Himes had $1.4 million by the same date.

Add to that the massive Democratic voter registration surge that's resulted from the excitement surrounding the presidential election:

Democratic voter registration is up sharply in southwestern Connecticut's 4th Congressional District, and political analysts said Friday that Republican U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays may face the toughest challenge of his career.

In fact, if city Democrats in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford show up on Election Day in a tide of anticipated statewide urban support for Sen. Barack Obama, Shays' narrow 5,747-vote margin of 2006 could evaporate into a forced political retirement. [...]

Since Jan. 1, 11,329 new Democrats have registered in the 17-town district. Only 3,462 Republicans have signed up so far this year and only 8,299 unaffiliated voters.

Remarkably, of the more than 100,000 new voters registered in the state since January 1, 39,000 have registered since May, nearly the 40,000 that registered in the weeks leading up to the February 5th primary. And look at the demographics of those registering and you see why Shays should be afraid...very afraid.

Five months after Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton drew a record turnout in the Connecticut primary, young people are still thronging to register as new voters, swelling the ranks of the state's dominant Democratic Party.

Nearly 18,000 18- to 29-year-olds have registered since May 6, with Democrats signing up 4.3 new young voters for every one that registers as a Republican, an advantage widely attributed to the generational appeal of Obama.

These registration numbers, which no doubt are replicated all over the country, are a real sign that we're in for a blue wave in 08. The question is, how many new Democrats will be swept into office as a result of it. Help make sure Jim Himes is one of them (and make sure my parents get a real representative in congress) over at Act Blue.

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