Westport's Obsitnik won't face primary for GOP House nod
Published 12:37 pm, Saturday, May 26, 2012
The Goldman Sachs reunion in the 4th Congressional District race is off.
Stamford Republican Chris Meek, who finished a distant second to Steve Obsitnik of Westport for the GOP convention endorsement in the 4th District but captured enough votes to force a primary, is abandoning his bid to challenge fellow Goldman alum Jim Himes in the November election.
Meek on Friday said that he will not go through with the Aug. 14 primary against Obsitnik.
"It's best that I step out right now," said Meek, 41, who "retired" from a career as a trader of equity derivatives at Goldman to run for Congress.
Meek referenced the protracted and tempestuous GOP nominating race for president, expressing a reluctance to go down that path.
"As I take a step back and sort of look at the national landscape, we're polarized too much right now," Meek said. "I don't want to be part of that process. I've always been someone who has focused on finding solutions, not being part of the problem."
Meek grabbed 27 percent of the vote May 19 at the state GOP convention in Hartford, well above the 15 percent needed to qualify for a primary.
Obsitnik, a wireless consulting executive from Westport, won 73 percent of the vote in the 17-town district that covers most of Fairfield County and a sliver of New Haven County.
"It's good to see that Chris and I have the same vision for what we want to accomplish in the district," Obsitnik said in a separate interview. "I'm excited to have him be part of the team and working together."
In July 2009, Meek launched SoldierSocks, a Stamford-based nonprofit that has shipped more than 30,000 pounds of supplies such as tube socks, baby wipes and other toiletries to troops overseas, according to its website.
Meek also runs START Now!, a 501(c)(3) organization that helps people with distressed home loans.
"If it was 60/40, I would have maybe pursued it," Meek said of the percentage of delegates that broke for Obitsnik and him. "I was very proud to have my hometown behind me as a delegation."
Meek's decision to bow out of the race clears the deck for Obsitnik to focus his money and energy on Himes, who is seeking a third term. Earlier in the week, Redding Republican Richard Wieland had thrown his support to Obsitnik after failing to qualify for the primary.
Primaries aren't necessarily a bugaboo for first-time candidates, however.
As a newcomer in 2008, Himes easily dispatched fellow Democrat Lee Whitnum in the party's primary, propelling him to a general election upset of longtime GOP incumbent Christopher Shays.
Obsitnik said he could see the upside to a primary.
"Sure, I could have learned something from it, but that's not the way how things played out this time," Obsitnik said.