Russo joins race against Conn. Rep. Jim Himes

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- Former Connecticut state Sen. Rob Russo says he's joined the growing field of Republicans seeking to oust freshman U.S. Rep. Jim Himes in next year's election.

The 34-year-old land-use lawyer and Bridgeport resident officially announced his candidacy Tuesday for southwestern Connecticut's 4th Congressional District. He calls Himes a "liberal rubber stamp" and says voters need independent, thoughtful leadership.

A Himes spokeswoman didn't immediately return a phone message Wednesday.

The Republican field also includes state Sen. Dan Debicella of Shelton, Rob Merkle of Norwalk and Will Gregory of New Canaan.

Russo won a special election for the state Senate in early 2008 after Sen. Bill Finch was elected mayor of Bridgeport, but lost the fall election to Democrat Anthony Musto.