WESTON, Conn. — State Rep. John Shaban (R) has emerged as a potential challenger in 2016 to incumbent Jim Himes (D) for the Fourth District Congressional seat.
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Shaban, who represents Easton, Redding, and Weston in the state House, recently put fresh posts on the “Shaban for Congress” Facebook page and the shabanforcongress.com website.
But while his campaign website and a Facebook post tout his candidacy — and the numerous endorsements he has received — Shaban hasn’t talked to the media.
Shaban did not respond to an email sent by the Daily Voice. Another email went to his press secretary, who said she would follow up with Shaban.
The Redding Pilot, which originally reported his candidacy, was also unable to reach Shaban.
But the Daily Voice was able to catch up with Gary Rose, a professor at Sacred Heart University and head of the Department of Government, Politics and Global Studies.
“He seems to be a pretty moderate Republican,” Rose said Wednesday, after browsing Shaban's political positions on his campaign website.
The professor said he was surprised that Shaban hasn’t granted interview requests, which he said would be "the first thing he would want to do."
“It’s one thing to be on Facebook, but it's even better for the purpose of voters to be interviewed," Rose said.
Despite the Fourth District’s strong Republican base, Rose said Shaban would have a difficult time challenging Himes.
“My initial reaction is that Mr. Shaban is probably going to have his work cut out for him,” Rose said. “He’s up against a formidable incumbent.”
Himes, a Greenwich resident who has held the seat since 2008, has strong support from Democrats and from across the aisle, Rose said.
“He is getting votes from Republicans, too,” Rose said of Himes. “He’s cracking Republican enclaves and that is obviously something that Mr. Shaban would have to contend with should he be the nominee.”
Shaban takes a middle-of-the-road approach, according to a statement on his campaign website.
“I reject the blanket ‘it’s us versus them’ approach that has frozen our government and has reduced Congress to a carnival show,” Shaban said. “During my four years in Hartford, I have performed as a common-sense Republican -- fighting for fiscal sanity, local control and individual rights -- all while respecting the fact that my Democratic colleagues and I do not always agree.”
Shaban withdrew from the Congressional race in April 2014, endorsing the eventual GOP nominee Dan Debicella "as we try to retire Jim Himes," according to a post on his campaign's Facebook wall.
For more information on Shaban, visit his campaign website here .
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