Himes, a Democrat who will enter his fourth term in the House of Representatives, took the stage at the Holiday Inn in Bridgeport shortly before 11 p.m. to the strains of Coldplay, thanking supporters and pledging to make Washington meet the needs of Connecticut residents.
"Things are getting better but they're still not good enough," he said.
, "Two few America families are feeling the recovery."
He said gridlock in Washington was hindering the good of the country.
"People are good and tired of the dysfunction and polarization. We are going to find ways to meet in the middle," he said. "We are Americans first. We must compromise, we must find ways to come together to move the country forward."
As to his opponent, Himes said, "I think we were both proud of the fact that the race we ran was pretty clean and kept to the issues."
Debicella, upon conceding, said he was happy to have run against Himes, even while losing.
"It was one of the great honors in my life to participate in this national discussion," he said. "We are very proud we ran such a close race, and it was a race of ideas."
Speaking of his opposition to partisan divisions, Debicella echoed Himes when he said, "It's time to be Americans first, Republicans and Democrats second."
It was the second time Himes, a Democrat, faced Debicella in a race to represent the Fourth Congressional District, which stretches from Greenwich to Bridgeport. Himes won the earlier contest in 2010.
The mood was upbeat at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn, as dozens of Himes campaign supporters sipped wine and beer and watched election results.
Jean Cayer of Shelton spent the day knocking on doors in Bridgeport and making phone calls on behalf of the congressman.
"He listens to people, and he's willing to compromise, which is great, Cayer said.
The contest between incumbent Himes and challenger Debicella was a match-up between two candidates vying to capture the centrist voters who characterize the district.
Debicella was eager to talk up his position as a social moderate, saying he was in favor of gay marriage. He said he wanted to find common ground on legislative issues and work on bills in Congress without partisan rancor. He claimed Himes was too closely aligned with Democratic Party to take an independent stance on the issues.
But stressing his credentials as a moderate himself, Himes has talked on the campaign trail about some of the votes he has taken that have placed him at odds with the liberal wing of his party. He was a supporter of the Simpson-Bowles commission to cut the federal deficit, a proposal that other Democrats said was too harsh.
Debicella was critical of Himes' leadership in the Democratic Party's fundraising operations. Rebutting that criticism, Himes said he has been active in efforts to remove big money from political campaigns.Read Full Article
Himes questioned how much of a true moderate his opponent was, citing several votes and positions that Debicella took as a state senator in Hartford. For his part, Debicella called the congressman a political insider who was part of the Washington culture he was critical of.
On the issue of economic revitalization, Himes was a proponent of infrastructure spending. Debicella called for closing corporate loopholes and targeted tax cuts to spur business growth in Connecticut.