BRIDGEPORT -- The easy part of the race for re-election ended Monday night for U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, who was unanimously endorsed as the Democratic candidate for the 4th Congressional District.

The first-term congressman, who unseated Christopher Shays in the last election, faced no opposition at the nominating convention at Central High School.

Whom he will face come November still remains to be decided. Five candidates are vying for the Republican nomination, with a convention slated the weekend of May 21 in Hartford.

"We're ready for a fight," Himes said. "This is a tough district for anybody."

But he said a lot of anxiety among citizens is "driven by fear in this economy," and with the signs of recovery that are starting to appear, Himes said he believes voters' mind-sets will begin to change.

"Do we continue our climb out of the mess we inherited 16 months ago, or do we go back to the policies that got us in that mess to begin with?" Himes said to the delegates.

He said that in the last two years, taxes have been cut for five of six Fairfield County workers and the largest investment in history has been made in the nation's schools.

"We did this in the face of unified opposition and, dare I say, ridicule," he said.

In nominating Himes, state Sen. Ed Gomes, D-Bridgeport, said, "Jim Himes is like an angel that came down from heaven" after years of Republican representation.

"We need to send him back to finish what he has to do," he said. "This is not going to be a cakewalk. You have to turn out to vote."

Himes, 43, lives in Greenwich with his wife, Mary, and their two children. He spent 12 years at Goldman Sachs, advancing to vice president.

He has also worked as a banker in Latin America and headed a telecom technology group during the late 1990s.

Since 2004, he has run the northeast operations for Enterprise Community Partners, working with private, public and community organizations to address issues of urban poverty.