Updated 10:50 p.m.
Speaking to a crowd of Democrats, Jim Himes pledged that he will stand by his principles, but that he will compromise and do what is needed to move the country forward.
With his family at his side—minutes after his opponent, Steve Obsitnik, conceded, Himes delivered an impassioned acceptance speech.
"In the greatest nation on the planet where we all stand for individual liberty and freedom, but we all recognize that we are at our best, we are at our blessed, when we recognize that we have a duty towards each other.”
He went on to thank Obsitnik, calling him a "good man," who "ran a good campaign."
“In a nation of very ugly campaigns this one was an exception,” Himes said. "We value civility."
Looking toward the future, Himes reflected on the recurring message he heard as he traveled the 4th District this election season—one that mirrored President Barack Obama's platform: make sure the country recovers fully economically and that it provides opportunities for all.
"The greatest nation in the world can afford to education each child in this country superbly,” he said. "The greatest nation can make sure that not a single American dies or gets ill without access to healthcare."
“We celebrate indivduals, we really do," he said. "We say God bless you, go out there and succeed. Start a business. Get rich. Do well. Be a leader in your community, but also never forget, that you got there because like my oppposent Steve Obsitnik and I, we got to go to good public schools.”
In closing, Himes noted what he said most in the district and country feel, that the House of Representatives has been "pretty dysfunctional" the last couple of years. And that people just want things to get done.
His pledge: "I will continue to do what I have tried to do in these last four years, which is to be an independent and thoughtful leader of this district. That I will stand for my principles."
"At the end of the day, I recognize that governing involves standing for your principles, but getting together and making a compromise and doing what you need to do to move the country forward.”
Updated 10:22 p.m.
Obsitnik quoted Winston Churchill at the end of his concession speech in front of family, friends and supporters at Norwalk Inn. "In closing, there is no such thing as losing, just giving up too soon," he said. "...Tomorrow will be a bright day in America regardless."
Obsitnik thanked his parents and told his daugthers that he would take them on a "long weekend" vacation now that the election is over.
After congratulating Himes on succeeding in the election, Obsitnik said that he hoped Himes would focus on "an environment where entrepreneurs and small businesses can recreate jobs and take Connecticut back to where we have been as a state."
Updated 10:11 p.m.
According to a Tweet from Himes, Obsitnik called to concede the race. "Gracious concession call from Steve Obsitnik. Good man. Worthy service. Did the GOP proud."
Updated 10 p.m.
With 8 percent of precincts reporting, Himes is out in front of Obsitnik 14,286 to 7,131 votes, according to the Hartford Courant.
A large crowd has gathered in Bridgeport, at the Holiday Inn, at Himes' Election night headquarters, waiting for the Congressman to come in. A crowd is gathered at the Obsitnik headquarters, too.
Updated 9:05 p.m.
Obsitnik arrived at the GOP gathering in Norwalk at just around 9 p.m. and was greeted by guests with a round of applause.
Updated 8:21 p.m.
The ballroom at Norwalk Inn, where Steve Obsitnik is expected to spend the evening, is slowly filling up with guests. Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia has already arrived and is actively mingling with guests.
Updated 7:45 p.m.
The stage is set at Bridgeport's Holiday Inn for Himes. Red, white and blue balloons and campaign signs give the scene a patriotic feel. Aside from a few members of the media, no one has arrived yet. The Congressman just stopped off at the Fairfield DTC headquarters, according to his Twitter account.
Obsitnik is expected to be in Norwalk as results come in.
Updated, 5:00 p.m.
With strong voter turnout and a healthy lead in the polls, Congressman Jim Himes (D-4th) said he was "feeling really good" about his chances for defeating Republican challenger Steve Obsitnik when he stopped by Democratic Town Headquarters in Greenwich Tuesday afternoon.
"The reason I'm feeling good is because of the polls I've been following — I tend to watch the Presidential [race] in the swing states — and of course I've been following the Murphy campaign closely — but all those numbers are in 'win' territory — some of them narrowly — but nevertheless in 'win' territory," Himes said during a brief interview, as campaign workers relentlessly called voters and shuffled about the tiny storefront. "When you have low turnout... the poll results can be less reliable. But when you have strong turnout… the results are more like the polls suggest," Himes added.
Himes said he was very pleased with the strong turnout — particularly considering this year's election came in the wake of all the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. "I mean, a week ago I wondered whether we would pull off the election," he said.
Himes said although the polls are trending in the Dems' favor for the Presidential, Congressional and Senate races, there's "still plenty of room for surprise," in the election.
"I mean, no pollster really knows what this electorate is going to look like," he said. "You've got the Tea-party enthusiasm on one side, which is only about two years old, and you've got a lot of enthusiasm for the President from young people and African Americans, but not as much as in '08, so those are unpredictable variables. And no pollster knows what effect that will have on the chemistry ..."
When asked how he is doing personally, beyond the numbers, Himes said, "I feel good... I mean, the polls all along have shown that I'm quite popular in the district. I really do like my opponent, I think he's a nice guy, but I don't think he's run a terribly pointed campaign…"
Himes said he was feeling much more confident this time around, compared to his previous two bids for Congress.
"It's very different," he said of the 2012 campaign. "I'm not taking anything for granted today — I've worked really hard and I've raised the money — but in my last two elections I felt like I was hanging on by my fingernails, for weeks, but this time I don't. This time it feels like the basic blocking and tackling will get me across the line. I've never had an election where I wasn't in serious jeopardy, so this is a new feeling for me..."
When asked if he felt he got his message out to voters — and if it resonated with them — Himes said, "I'm very lucky in that I have a very educated constituency. So, the traditional bullet points of both parties don't work very well. Most Republicans in Fairfield County don't really believe that the economic mess of today was caused by the Obama administration's spending — just the same way the Democrats don't really believe that the Republicans will do away with medicare. In that regard I feel like I can have a more real political conversation here in Fairfield County than happens elsewhere..."
When asked is he expects to pickup any new towns this time around, Himes said, "In my first race I won the three cities — and in my second race I won the the three cities, plus two towns. This time I'd like to win a few more towns… "
Updated, 3:24 p.m.
Obsitnik told Patch Tuesday afternoon about his busy schedule leading up to Election Night. "We've been up since 4:30 a.m. going around to train stations and polling places and just talking to people," he said via phone. The energy is very positive and strong. I'm looking forward to a very fun victory night."
While the third scheduled debate of the 4th Congressional race between Democratic candidate Rep. Jim Himes and Republican candidate Steve Obsitnik was canceled due to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, voters were given three chances to hear each candidate's position on both foreign and domestic issues and what they planned to change if elected.
The first debate in Norwalk, which focused on foreign policy, found Himes and Obsitnik agreeing on a few topics, including the United States' relationship with China.
"China provides us with a spectacular opportunity to trade with them, to get rich, as they buy our products," Himes said. "Unfortunately, we will never agree with the way Chinese leadership feels about how to run a political system."
Obsitnik agreed on the idea behind Himes' statement, but not his choice of words. Obsitnik felt as the U.S. continued to evolve and innovate as a nation, it would need to keep an eye on China. "China is our greatest national threat and our greatest opportunity," he said.
The two disagreed, however, on Afghanistan with Obsitnik and Himes each firing at statements from the other on what should be the appropriate approach to drawing down troops in the region.
"Jim Himes said he disagreed with the president here and I just haven't seen the fortitude behind it," Obsitnik said.
Himes fired back by saying that he at least 30 votes on the floor of the House of Representatives based on one principal. "I disagree with this President's nation-building strategy, and I've been very clear about that from the start," he said.
According to the Connecticut Mirror, the last two debates, which focused on domestic issues and took place in Norwalk and Bridgeport, didn't seem to show a clear difference between each candidate's position.
Himes accused Obsitnik of not "showing clarity" in his answers and instead offering partisanship, while Obsitnik accused Himes of being a "career politician," but they both agreed on issues, including preserving Medicare and repairng Social Security.
Most recently, Himes argued that a company owned by Obsitnik benefited from millions in taxpayer money, according to the Connecticut Post, while Obsitnik accused Himes of helping a now-defunct Bridgeport-based ship builder receive stimulus funds through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).
- Himes received a Bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1988 and a Master's degree in Philosopy from the University of Oxford in 1990, while Obsitnik received a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1989 and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1996.
- Himes held positions at Enterprise Community Partners and Goldman Sachs & Co., while Obsitnik was the CEO of Quintel and an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University.