Norwalk's Rob Merkle out, GOP taps Debicella to challenge Himes for 4th District



Hour Staff Writer

Shelton Republican Dan Debicella on Friday handily won his party's nomination, knocking out Norwalk Republican and Tea Party favorite Rob Merkle, and winning his party's backing to run against incumbent Democrat Jim Himes for the 4th Congressional District this fall.

Debicella, a state senator, wont 77 percent of delegates votes at the 2010 GOP State Convention in Hartford on Friday afternoon, according to his campaign.

"Now is the time to chart a new course for America. It is time for a better way. We will restore fiscal responsibility to Washington. We will strengthen homeland security. We will get out of the way of entrepreneurs and small business owners and restore the principles of small government, free enterprise, and individual liberty that have made our country great," said Debicella upon receiving the Republican nomination. " We will get the job done so that our children are afforded the same opportunity to live the American dream that we all enjoy."

Debicella is one of a number of Republicans seeking their party's nomination to run against Himes, who was first elected in 2008. Non of the other Republican candidates seeking the nomination garnered enough votes to qualify a primary.

"None of the other candidates got 15 percent to force a primary. They can still do it by signatures, but they're not afforded a primary certificate from the convention," said Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairman Art Scialabba, speaking from the convention in Hartford. "I'm very pleased that (Debicella) won with the percentage that he did to avoid a potential primary. We've come out of the convention united for Dan, and the campaign to retake the 4th District begins today."

Debicella was nominated by John McKinney of Fairfield, who is Republican leader in the State Senate. McKinney said Debicella is "unquestionably the right person to represent the 4th District in Congress during these challenging times."

Debicella grew up in Bridgeport. His father was a police officer and his mother was a secretary. He received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and since has worked in business.