NEW HAVEN — National Republicans are stepping up efforts in the congressional race to represent Connecticut’s Gold Coast, trying to recapture a seat the party held for decades before Democratic Representative Jim Himes was elected four years ago.
Himes is running against Republican Steve Obsitnik, recently named a ‘‘young gun’’ by the National Republican Congressional Committee that identified him as a strong contender. Obsitnik, 45, a former naval officer who lives in Westport, has received $4,000 from House Speaker John Boehner and another $10,000 from Boehner’s political action committee.
‘‘We feel very strongly about this race,’’ said Nathaniel Sillin, spokesman for the NRCC. ‘‘It’s certainly a race to watch.’’
The Fourth Congressional District covers wealthy Fairfield County towns and Bridgeport, the state’s largest city. The race has largely been overshadowed by the Fifth Congressional District contest in northwestern Connecticut between Republican state Senator Andrew Roraback and former state representative Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat.
While the NRCC said it has spent $70,000 for Obsitnik, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not committed any money for Himes, instead spending more than $1 million in the 5th Congressional District race.
Himes is the favorite, said Ron Schurin, associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut. He said Himes did well in the 2010 election during a tough year for Democrats and has the name recognition and resources.
Obsitnik argues that Himes is a proponent of ineffective big government policies, such as stimulus spending and financial regulations that kill jobs. Obsitnik said he has created jobs as a high-tech executive.
Himes argues that stimulus spending was effective and has portrayed himself as an independent and moderate lawmaker.