Republican Dan Debicella is poised to walk away from a lucrative management position at the world's largest hedge fund in Westport to run for Congress, setting up a potential rematch with three-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., in 2014.
The Westport firm, which manages $150 billion in assets, is slated to receive $100 million in economic incentives from the state to relocate its headquarters to Stamford and create 1,000 jobs. Founded by Greenwich billionaire Ray Dalio, the fund is known for its corporate culture and a 123-page manifesto of management principles prescribed by Dalio.
"We're definitely considering it," Debicella said last week. "My wife and I are finalizing the decision this weekend."
Debicella, 38, a new father, said he could make an announcement as early as this week. He declined to comment further about the dynamics of the race or his willingness to give up a handsome paycheck, a move that some political observers privately characterized as a head-scratcher.
Republicans have been scouring the district for someone to challenge Himes, who increased his share of the vote to 60 percent in 2012 and is national finance chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
"I've had several discussions with Sen. Debicella. He's a top-tier candidate," said Jerry Labriola Jr., the state GOP chairman.
"If Dan does choose to run, we will have a very real chance to defeat Jim Himes," said Labriola, calling the incumbent a rubber stamp for what he deemed the job-killing agendas of President Barack Obama and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
A representative of the Himes campaign declined to comment.
In 2010, Debicella mustered 47 percent of the vote in an unsuccessful challenge to Himes, who was completing his first term at the time. The Harvard MBA and University of Pennsylvania graduate landed at Bridgewater following the loss in what was a strong year for Republicans elsewhere.
Prior to 2008, when Himes upset longtime GOP incumbent Christopher Shays, Republicans controlled the seat for 40 years. The 4th District comprises 17 cities in towns in Fairfield County and a sliver of New Haven County.