Politics & Policy

Debicella: I’m Like Shays

State senator Dan Debicella tells Battle 10 that his endorsement by former Republican congressman Chris Shays will help him beat Rep. Jim Himes in Connecticut’s fourth congressional district.

“Chris Shays is probably the best person who exemplifies the type of public servant that people in this district want,” Debicella says. “For 40 of the last 42 years, we’ve been represented by independent Republicans. That’s what people are looking for. Chris’s endorsement is a very powerful indicator to voters of the type of congressman I’ll make.”

He contrasts Shays with Himes, who he claims is “not an independent thinker.” In Debicella’s ad, Shays highlights the fact that Himes has voted with Nancy Pelosi 94 percent of the time.

Himes refutes this charge by pointing to his support for a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts. But Debicella remains unmoved: “He was the deciding vote for Congress to adjourn without voting on it. Thirty nine Democrats said ‘No’ and Jim Himes — as he always does — just went for Nancy Pelosi. He likes to talk like a moderate but he votes straight down the line with Nancy Pelosi.”

“If only!” Connecticut’s liberals think. Today, Jon Kantrowitz on MyLeftNutmeg lists the netroots’ grievances with the Democrat:

I’m disappointed by not only his support of tax breaks for the rich, but his particularly insensitive way of defending his position. . . .

I’m disappointed by his failure to support Speaker Nancy Pelosi and his determination to “go rogue” in opposition to deficit spending despite high unemployment . . .

I’m disappointed by his vote against the Democratic Jobs Bill . . .

his efforts to help his Wall Street friends by limiting the effects of the Consumer Protection Act, his vote against the Tax Extenders Act of 2009 . . .

his vote against the Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act of 2009 . . .

and his support of “pay-as-you-go-legislation.”

Meanwhile, Himes’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Kerr, is not surprised by Shays’s endorsement. In an e-mail to Battle ’10, she writes:

Of course Shays is endorsing the Republican. He probably had to hold his nose to do it though, since Debicella has the worst environmental record over the last 10 years and voted against requiring hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, while Himes has the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, Sierra Club, a Planned Parenthood.

Still, Debicella is sitting pretty with his endorsement. “If Chris Shays had run again I think he would have beaten Himes handily,” he concludes. “I think people regretted voting Chris Shays out.”

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