HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Republicans were still hoping to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes early Wednesday after the rest of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation managed to win reelection.
The national GOP has been enthusiastic about its chances to flip Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, which includes parts of northwestern and central Connecticut, and finally elect a Republican member of the delegation after more than a decade. The race has attracted national attention, with outside groups spending more than $7 million on the race between Hayes and former Republican state Sen. George Logan.
By 1:30 a.m., it remained too early to call a winner in the race.
“I’ll wait patiently for however long it takes to count every single vote,” Hayes said Tuesday night. Logan told his supporters he expected to win by the “shortest of margins.”
Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, has twice visited New Britain, a key city in the district where the RNC this year opened a community center as part of an outreach effort.
Republicans haven’t held a House seat in Connecticut since former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays lost in 2008 to Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, who still holds the seat representing a southwestern part of the state and was re-elected Tuesday.
Hayes is the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress.
Logan, the son of immigrants from Guatemala, is a mechanical engineer and community relations director at a water company. He’s also a guitarist in a Jimi Hendrix tribute band. Despite being labeled as too extreme by Democrats, he has portrayed himself as a social moderate and fiscal conservative.
Logan says he supports abortion rights and opposes a federal ban but backs a parental notification requirement. He has accused Hayes and the Democrats of trying to “scare” voters about what he might do in Congress.
“My opponent and the Democrat leadership insiders repeatedly put out false attack ads about my position,” he said during a recent debate. “I would not support a national ban on abortion. It doesn’t matter to me who in the Congress would want one.”
Hayes has said it’s unlikely Logan would go against Republican House leadership.
“If anyone in this room thinks that the Congressional Leadership Fund is putting millions of dollars into the campaign of someone that they can’t trust will vote for the things that they would like, then you are all sadly mistaken,” Hayes said during the debate.
The national GOP also targeted Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who was first elected to Congress in 2006 to represent the 2nd Congressional District in eastern Connecticut. But Courtney, who billed himself as someone with a record of effectively working with Democrats and Republicans, managed to defeat his Republican challenger, state Rep. Mike France, chair of the General Assembly’s conservative caucus.
In the 4th Congressional District, Himes won an eighth term. He was being challenged by Republican Jayme Stevenson, an abortion rights supporter who served more than a decade as Darien’s first selectman.
Democratic U.S. Rep. John Larson won his 13th term representing the 1st Congressional District, which spans northern and central parts of the state, including Hartford. He was challenged by Dr. Larry Lazor, who describes himself as a moderate Republican. A minor party candidate is also running.
And Democratic U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro won her 17th term in office in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes areas of southern and central Connecticut. She was challenged by Republican Lesley DiNardis, a college administrator, as well as two minor party candidates.