George Logan concedes 5th District race to Democrat Jahana Hayes
National Republicans pinned their hopes on George Logan – a self-described “proud Connecticut Republican” – as the candidate who could appeal to moderate voters and flip the competitive 5th Congressional District back to the GOP for the first time in more than 10 years.
On Thursday morning, Logan conceded the race, acknowledging his loss to incumbent Democrat Jahana Hayes.
“This moment we built, over the last year and a half, put us closer to winning a seat in Congress that no Republican has held since 2006,” he said. “Almost 50% of you voted for me to bring change here and Washington. And for that, I am extremely grateful.”
The Associated Press called the race for Hayes just before 8 p.m. Wednesday.
It was the end of a contest that commanded a record $12 million in outside spending from groups aligned with Republican and Democratic parties. Backers blanketed Connecticut with television campaign ads to influence the race, which polls indicated would be a dead heat.
On Thursday, Logan said his campaign found some issues with the voting but decided they were not enough “to change the outcome of the election.” Despite the loss, he noted how close the GOP came to winning the seat. The difference between the two candidates was roughly 2,000 votes.
Hayes' campaign issued an earlier 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 and the enormous sums of money that were spent in an attempt to unseat her.
“National Republicans threw everything at me but the kitchen sink, put millions of dollars in this race,” Hayes told reporters after the Secretary of the State’s Office announced it had received election results from a remaining community that had been delayed by a technical issue.
State Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto said Connecticut needs to move more quickly to get complete vote counts.
“George lost. But we should have known that much sooner,” Proto said.
Unofficial numbers tallied by the secretary of the state on the office's website did not initially include vote totals from the heavily Democratic town of Salisbury.
State Director of Elections Theodore Bromley cited "technical difficulties" in a statement issued by the Secretary of the State’s Office. He said the problems “were not due to any short comings of the local officials but rather a result of recent redistricting changes made to the Election Management System.”
Head moderator Albert Ginouves said he went to an online spreadsheet to report vote totals from Salisbury to the state on Tuesday. But he said there was no place to enter congressional results. Ginouves said he called the Secretary of the State’s Office.
“Someone got back to us, not quite believing me, I suspect,” Ginouves said. “But when they signed in and looked at our particular town’s spreadsheet, I heard language I did not expect to hear.”
Ginouves eventually filled out a paper form, scanned it and emailed it to the Secretary of the State's Office. That office confirmed the paper count in an email.
Ginouves is also the Democratic town committee chair in Salisbury.
Republicans haven’t held a House seat in Connecticut since 2008, when former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, who still holds the seat representing a southwestern part of the state and was reelected Tuesday. With Hayes’ win, Connecticut’s congressional delegation remains all Democrats.
Hayes said the win was not easy.
“I had to work twice as hard and really fight to hold this seat,” she said. “And at the end of the day, I think that was the message that resonated with the people in my community, that I’m one of them and I’m going to continue to fight for them.”
This story contains information from the Associated Press. Connecticut Public Radio's Sujata Srinivasan contributed to this report.