Written by Cathryn Prince
If one pokes the surface, it’s actually not all that quiet on the Fourth District’s front.
Indeed the names of two possible Republican challengers keep popping up as possible 2012 Congressional candidates. Whoever ultimately gets the GOP nomination will face Congressman Jim Himes (D-4), who is now mid-way through his second term.
First among possible contenders is state Rep. John Shaban, a Republican representing Weston, Redding and Easton in the 135thHouse District. A freshman in the Connecticut General Assembly, Shaban has earned the respect of GOP party leaders like state Rep. Larry Cafero, House Minority leader and state Sen. John McKinney, Senate Minority Leader, said a source in one local Republican Town Committee.
All that translates to the ability to raise cash and make connections said a source.
“I find it charming to have my name bandied about in this way,” Shaban said. “It’s a little early in the process, but it’s charming to say the least.”
Shaban said at this point he’s entertaining conversation on a possible candidacy.
Then there is Chris Meek of Stamford, a trader of equity derivatives for Goldman Sachs.
"At this point I'm still considering it," Meek said. "I'm leaning toward getting in but am still talking about the possible effects of it on my family."
Meek also , a non-profit that sends basic items to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also started Stamford Young Republicans, which became Our CT Grand Young Party. He also founded the non-profit START Now!, which provides mortgage assistance.
In 2010, Connecticut Magazine named Meek one of its “40 under 40” — people the magazine considered to be among the state’s future leaders.
Of the two, only Meek has began the op-ed offensive against Himes.
In a July 29 piece published in the Stamford Advocate, Meek took Himes to task for helping launch a program called Get Home Now! According to Meek, the program would encourage those with credit scores as low as 580 to qualify and would allow borrowing up to 110 percent of a home’s value.
Meek said the program is irresponsible given the current financial climate.
Himes told Patch he found Meek’s op-ed a bit disingenuous since it didn’t mention either Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia or Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia. Both mayors helped launch Get Home Now! Pavia also appointed Meek to serve on Stamford’s Urban Redevelopment Commission.
Meek said he wrote the op-ed from the position that Get Home Now! is a federal program.
"The mayors were not involved," Meek said. "They were, and are, recipients. The program is coming from the Obama administration and none of the city officials are involved."
On the surface none of this appears to faze Himes. He said he’s not yet thinking about the next race.
“It’s still early days, but soon it won’t be. I just want to stay focused on my day job now,” Himes said.
For now that means Super Committee, helping those constituents affected get economic assistance, and responding to President Barack Obama’s deficit reduction plan. All of these issues will likely play a sizeable role in the forthcoming campaign.
Like in 2010, the economy will likely dominate the debate.
Regardless, Himes also said he thinks the Senate GOP nominating rounds will hold garner more attention than any of the Congressional races.
“You couldn’t have two more different people,” Himes said of Republicans Chris Shays and Linda McMahon. “Any other race will play second fiddle to that.”