Republican congressional candidate Dan Debicella of Shelton has been elevated to Contender status in the National Congressional Campaign Committee’s (NRCC) “Young Guns” program, according to a NRCC press release.
“Dan Debicella has reached the Contender status because he is exemplary of the new leadership needed in Washington, D.C. to turn our country around and provide a check-and-balance in Washington,” the NRCC said.
The Young Guns program assists GOP candidates who Republican leaders think can win open seats but could use assistance with their campaigns.
The program was founded in the 2007-08 election cycle by Republican Majority Leader U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Whip U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, and Budget Chairman U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Hoping for a rematch
Debicella is hoping for a rematch with third-term Democratic Congressman Jim Himes in the Fourth Congressional District, which includes most of Fairfield County. The district covers most of Shelton (some of Shelton is in the Third Congressional District).
Debicella spent two terms in the state Senate before running for Congress and losing in 2010.
Two other candidates also are seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Himes — Dr. Joseph Bentivegna, an ophthalmologist from Fairfield, and Carl Higbie, a retired Navy SEAL from Greenwich. Debicella is considered the favorite to win the Republican endorsement, but a primary is possible.
According to the NRCC release, Debicella would bring a strong business background to Congress. He has worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company, in strategic marketing at PepsiCo, and most recently in management at Bridgewater Associates, which is a Westport-based hedge fund.
Previously, he had founded and run the small Internet business Textbooks Online in the late 1990s.
Himes also has a background in business, having worked at Goldman Sachs, a large financial services and investment company. Himes also started a nonprofit housing agency, lives in Greenwich, and was first elected in 2008.