Jahana Hayes declares victory in closely watched Connecticut congressional race
Democrat Jahana Hayes has declared victory in her close and closely watched congressional race that pitted the incumbent against Republican challenger George Logan.
The Associated Press called the race for Hayes before 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Hayes' campaign issued a statement saying that state election officials informed them that her margin of victory was large enough to avoid triggering a recount.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday night, Hayes noted the high-profile nature of the race for the 5th Congressional District as outside groups spent millions of dollars on campaign ads.
“National Republicans threw everything at me but the kitchen sink, put millions of dollars in this race, really started a months-long, all-out campaign to shift the narrative,” Hayes said. “So I had to work twice as hard and really fight to hold this seat. And at the end of the day, I think that that is the message that resonated with the people in my community — that I am one of them. I'm going to continue to fight for them.”
Groups aligned with Republican and Democratic parties blanketed Connecticut in recent weeks with television campaign ads as they spent a record $12 million to influence a race that polls indicated would be a dead heat.
The district includes large parts of western Connecticut and suburbs west of Hartford.
The race received national attention because of the role it could play in determining which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives next year.
Hayes made history in 2018 as the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress. Logan served for two terms as a state senator.
State election officials said Wednesday night there were technical difficulties with election returns from Salisbury and noted that vote totals from Salisbury hadn’t been included in 5th District race results. A paper copy of voting returns reviewed by state election officials expanded the margin of Hayes' victory to more than 1,800 votes.
“This total exceeds any statutory margin of victory that would necessitate a recount,” state elections director Theodore Bromley said in a statement. “As such, with the inclusion of Salisbury’s vote totals, there is no statutory requirement for a recount in the 5th Congressional District."
Logan plans to hold a news conference Thursday morning.
Hayes' declaration of victory ended a dramatic 24-hour period as the votes were counted and the race was too close to call.
Hayes told supporters Tuesday night: “I’ll wait patiently for however long it takes to count every single vote."
Logan addressed his supporters in Waterbury late Tuesday night, saying — at that point — he'd win by the "shortest of margins."
"We are looking good. But we still have more numbers to count," Logan said.
The Logan campaign issued a statement around noon Wednesday expressing confidence in a victory based on unofficial vote counts from state elections officials.
Soon after, the Connecticut Democratic Party issued a statement on Twitter.
"Once every single vote is counted and certified by election officials, we are confident Jahana Hayes will win re-election," the party said. "At the moment, some towns are under-reported in official records."
Republicans had high hopes they could flip the seat and help their party gain control of the U.S. House. 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 reelected Tuesday.
Speaking on Connecticut Public Radio’s Where We Live earlier this fall, Hayes said her message to voters is her record in Congress, including voting for the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Congress passed in March 2021.
Speaking on Where We Live earlier this fall, Logan said he would describe himself “as a proud Connecticut Republican. I’m more moderate when it comes to dealing with social issues and more conservative-leaning when it comes to financial, fiscal issues.”
Logan said he’s consistently supported women's rights, including access to an abortion, “as long as it’s safe, legal and rare.” Hayes recently took part in a discussion with Vice President Kamala Harris and the national president of Planned Parenthood on abortion rights.
This story contains information from the Associated Press, as well as Connecticut Mirror/Connecticut Public's Lisa Hagen and Connecticut Public's Frankie Graziano.