Shelton resident wins GOP nod to run for Congress

Former state Sen. Dan Debicella of Shelton on Friday easily won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Congress in the Fourth District, which includes most of Shelton.

Debicella won the GOP convention with 93% of the delegate vote in a three-way race. No other candidate received enough votes to force a primary, but other candidates still could qualify for a party primary by collecting petition signatures.

Debicella is seeking to run against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a three-term Democrat from Greenwich.

Debicella: People in district are ‘disappointed’

In accepting the nomination, Debicella said the one word that sums up Jim Himes’ time in Washington is disappointment.

“It’s the word I hear most often when talking to folks,” he said. “You can see it in people’s faces and hear it in their voices.

“Disappointed in our economy — where we have created no new jobs in five years, and Connecticut is 50th out of 50 [states] in job creation,” Debicella said. “Disappointed in a Washington, D.C. that is broken and unable to govern.”

He said it’s time for the country to move forward again. “It does not need to be this way,” Debicella said. “It’s time to get beyond the mediocrity of small expectations, and demand a government that lives up to the promise of America.”

Debicella lost to Himes in 2010

Debicella served in the state Senate from 2006-2010, and then lost to Himes in a race for Congress in 2010.

In recent years, he has worked for Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based hedge fund.

The other Republicans seeking the Republican nomination in the Fourth District were Dr. Joseph Bentivegna, a dental surgeon from Fairfield, and Carl Higbie, a retired Navy SEAL from Greenwich.

To qualify for a primary to challenge Debicella, another Republican would have to collect 1,981 signatures from registered Republicans in the district by June 10.

Himes was first elected in 2008, and is running for a fourth term this fall. He faced no competition for the Democratic Party nomination this year. Himes also has worked in the financial services industry, at Goldman Sachs, a large investment firm.

Nominating speeches

At the convention, Debicella was nominated by state Rep. John Shaban of Redding, who had been a Republican candidate for the seat before dropping out a few weeks ago.

“Dan will put the needs of our district first and do what is right for our country,” Shaban said.

The nomination was seconded by state Rep. Jason Perillo of Shelton, who highlighted Debicella’s loyalty to his family and his commitment to the country.

“I have known Dan for many years — he is a dedicated public servant who will serve us well in Washington,” Perillo said.