Former state Sen. Robert Russo of Bridgeport notified supporters by email today that he is ending his campaign for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 4th District.

Russo immediately endorsed state Sen. Dan Debicella, R-Shelton, who still faces competition from Easton First Selectman Tom Herrmann.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Dan and serving with him in the State Senate,” Russo wrote. “I know Dan possesses the command of the issues and the politics that will make him a successful Congressman. We have a long fight ahead of us and we need to help Dan Debicella bring the fight to Jim Himes right now.

Russo had badly lagged behind Debicella in the race to raise money, $440,092 to $91,764. Herrmann raised $383,409 in just 23 days.

Himes, the Democrat who unseated U.S. Rep. Chris Shays in 2008, has raised $2.1 million and has nearly $1.6 million cash on hand.

“I entered the race for Congress seven months ago because I strongly believed that Fairfield County desperately needed that independent leadership in Congress that we all admired so much in Christopher Shays and Stewart McKinney before him,” Russo wrote.

Russo was an aide to Shays.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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