Himes and Debicella work to get out the vote

With one day left in what has become a  close race, 4th Congressional District candidates Jim Himes and Dan Debicella braved the cold Monday to reach as many voters and volunteers as they could.

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Dan Debicella shakes hands with a voter outside a Trumbull supermarket (Uma Ramiah)

“This race has turned out exactly how I thought it would,” said Debicella, rubbing his hands together. The Republican state senator had been out all day talking to Fairfield County voters, including people at a Stop & Shop in Trumbull.

“People who think Washington is getting it right, the people who like the stimulus bill, who like the health care package, when they’re walking out they tell me they’re voting for Jim,” he said, slipping into his central message. “It seems, just from what I’ve seen, that there are a lot more people who think there’s a better way than are happy with Washington.”

That message has gotten out, Debicella says. His ideas like repealing the health reform and making the Bush tax cuts permanent have resonated with voters.

“So we’re feeling good.”

But it was a huge weekend for Himes – President Obama showed up Saturday in Bridgeport, drawing thousands of enthusiasts, and former President Bill Clinton rallied for the one-term incumbent in Norwalk on Sunday night.

At  Himes’ campaign headquarters in Bridgeport, young volunteers made calls to potential supporters with their cell phones, grasping lists of registered voters. There were stacked boxes of cold pizza and colorful signs listing off reasons to vote for “Jim.”

Himes soon arrived, took some phone calls, shook hands and rallied the gathered troops.

“Look, I know we’re all tired, I know that knocking on that thousandth door doesn’t feel so good, and that last phone call is tough to make,” he told his volunteers. “But what you’re doing is more than just getting me back to the Congress.”

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Jim Himes talks with volunteers in Bridgeport (Uma Ramiah)

“You’re continuing the steady march that this country has made in the last two years in a direction that we all like,” he said.

Himes said he’d been all over the district that morning, and was headed off to rally his teams in Norwalk and Fairfield. He said all the offices were packed, and high energy.

“This enthusiasm gap may have been oversold,” he said. “I think a lot of Democrats are waking up today and saying what happens tomorrow really matters,” he said. “Polls open tomorrow morning at 6am. And what happens between 6am and 8pm determines a lot about where this country goes,” said Himes.