tags: Targeted Races

Shays (R-CT-4)

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RESULT: Jim Himes (D) 51% – Chris Shays (R) 48%  

The Race:

Congressman Chris Shays was the only one of the three targeted House Republicans from Connecticut who survived in 2006. In fact, he is the only Republican House Member remaining from New England. Now, Democrats are preparing to target him yet again. But Shays recently threw his own re-election plans in doubt when he told the National Journal that he would not seek re-election unless he is promised the top Republican slot on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. If Shays retires, analysts say the Republicans will lose the seat. Even if he runs again, he is in for a very tough fight. The Democratic candidate is Greenwich Town Committee Chairman Jim Himes. [Roll Call, accessed 5/15/08]

The Shays Position:

Christopher Shays

ENFORCEMENT PLUS TEMPORARY WORKERS. During his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, Shays has mostly supported enforcement-only policies and opposed true comprehensive immigration reform. In 2006, Shays said he did not support the “path to citizenship” approach, preferring instead to give undocumented immigrants “blue cards'” that allow them to stay in the country and continue working, but without permanent status. [Hartford Courant, 9/22/06] On his campaign website, Shays says: “Unfortunately there are millions who have come here illegally. I believe they should register and learn English. While they should be allowed to stay and work legally, they should not be put on a path to citizenship unless they go home, apply for legal entry, and wait in line like everyone else who plays by the rules.” [Christopher Shays for Congress, accessed 5/15/08] He adds, “one of America’s strengths is the continual flow of new immigrants who take jobs others don’t want and see opportunities others ignore… we should open our doors to more legal immigrants and allow them guest worker privileges and the opportunity to study here. We should also expand the number of permanent work visas.” [Christopher Shays for Congress, accessed 5/15/08] Finally, Shays also says, “An underground economy corrupts our society and places additional burdens on those who play by the rules, so we must ensure businesses hire legal residents and pay all required taxes. To assist employers, we should establish a tamper proof Social Security card to be used by all Americans and legal immigrants.” [Christopher Shays for Congress, accessed 5/15/08]

The Himes Positions:

Jim Himes

COMPREHENSIVE REFORMER. When asked by a reporter about his position on immigration Himes stated, “We must document the undocumented, we must secure our borders, and we must require our employers to only hire workers who are eligible to work in this country.” [Connecticut Post Online, 8/2/08] On his campaign website, Jim Himes outlines his immigration position by saying, “Our dysfunctional immigration policy is shameful, and Congress must act quickly to pursue comprehensive immigration reform. Our borders are not secure and we have 12 million undocumented workers living in the shadows. We must also crack down on employers who violate our immigration and employment laws, undermining working conditions for all Americans. As long as there is a paying job on the other side, people desperate for economic opportunity will cross our borders illegally. Comprehensive immigration reform must include a practical and humane approach to the 12 million undocumented immigrants who either entered our country illegally or who overstayed their visas. The most viable way to encourage undocumented workers to come out of the shadows is to offer an earned path to citizenship for those who obey the law, work hard, and pay taxes. Law-abiding, hardworking, and tax-paying immigrants should be assessed a meaningful penalty, and should be allowed to go to the ‘back of the line’ for citizenship.” [Jim Himes for Congress, accessed 5/15/08]

Himes also said, “I vigorously oppose Chris Shays’ proposed ‘solution’ to the immigration crisis, a ‘blue card’ program which would combine the worst of all available options, allowing full amnesty for undocumented aliens, but creating a permanent immigrant worker underclass who would forever be denied the hope of citizenship and who would forever remain marginalized in American society. A two-tiered society is not what our founding fathers had in mind.” [Jim Himes for Congress, accessed 5/15/08]

Connecticut 4th