NORWALK - A day after clinching victory in the 4th Congressional District?s Democratic primary, Jim Himes is gearing up for the race to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays.

For Himes, a newcomer on the scene, his novelty could have a certain appeal this election year. And indeed he echoes the change message of the Democrats? new standard-bearer Sen. Barack Obama.

?I am very confident that the people of this district are ready for change,? Himes tells News 12 Connecticut. ?They're ready for a congressman who's going to focus on health care, who's going to finally help this country put together an energy policy so we're not paying $4.50 at the pump.?

Shays? campaign manager Michael Sohn, however, doesn?t think Obama?s sheen will necessarily rub off on Himes. Sohn, says while what happens on the national level does have an affect on the campaign, their focus will be on what Shays has done and will do for the 4th District.

The candidates on both sides of the aisle hope focusing on the economy will win them the election come November. Shays was not available to talk to News 12 Connecticut on camera because he was heading off to Iraq to talk about terrorism in Pakistan.