NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Reps. Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty have raised far more than their Republican rivals, each pulling in more than $1 million for this year's election, but the GOP vowed Tuesday the races will be highly competitive as they try to break Democrats' lock on Congress in Connecticut.
Himes raised about $1.2 million by the end of the year, compared with $303,000 by Republican Dan Debicella. Esty raised $1.1 million, compared with $325,000 by Republican Mark Greenberg, much of that from a $130,500 loan to himself.
Himes had $1.2 million cash on hand, while Esty had $846,000. Debicella and Greenberg had $273,000 and $36,000, respectively.
Debicella, a former state senator who lost to Himes in 2010 for the Fairfield County seat, said he only began fundraising about three months ago and is well ahead of his pace last time. He said he expects to raise between $2 million and $3 million.
"I think once again you're going to see this this be one of the premier competitive races in the Northeast as it was in 2010," DeBicella said.
DeBicella said he actually outpaced Himes in the fourth quarter in individual contributions. He said Himes gets a significant amount of his contributions from Washington and political action committees, which his campaign said he's not proactively soliciting.
Maryli Secrest, Himes' campaign manager, said Himes is proud of the hundreds of grassroots supporters who have contributed to his campaign. Himes has raised more than $700,000 from individuals.
"It will be interesting to find out where the GOP candidates really stand as they compete with each other over who will be the worst advocate for gun violence prevention, women's reproductive rights, and middle class families," Secrest said.
DeBicella's campaign said Himes was trying to change the conversation away from his failed record on creating jobs and health care, saying 1.3 million jobs have been lost on his watch. Democrats' counter that the economy has added 3.1 million jobs since Himes took office and that the new health care law benefited Connecticut residents.