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Politics

Rep. Jahana Hayes Banks $1.2M For Reelection Campaign

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MARK PAZNIOKAS
/
CTMIRROR.ORG
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (right) with Ned Lamont and Jahana Hayes in 2018, candidates he promoted for governor and Congress. Lamont and Hayes are up for reelection next year.

With Republicans hoping to target her in 2022, U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, has raised $425,275 in the first six months of 2021 and has banked $1.2 million toward her reelection bid for a third term.

George Logan, a former state senator from Ansonia, a Naugatuck Valley community just outside the 5th, has lined up GOP operative Liz Kurantowicz as a general campaign consultant, a sign that a formal campaign kickoff is coming.

Logan’s early goal will be to raise enough money to establish credibility with national donors and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which have largely ignored the district as New England has become inhospitable to Republican congressional candidates.

“Money’s always an issue,” said Ben Proto, the new Republican state chairman.

Logan could not be reached.

Republicans held three of Connecticut’s five U.S. House seats as recently as 2006, when Nancy Johnson of the 5th and Rob Simmons of the 2nd were unseated. Chris Shays of the 4th, the sole GOP survivor in 2006, was unseated by Democrat Jim Himes in 2008.

Republican gubernatorial candidates have carried the 5th District in recent cycles, but Hayes won by relatively comfortable and nearly identical margins in each of her two outings: 56% to 44% in 2018, and 55% to 43% in 2020.

The money raised by Hayes in six months this year approximates the $430,000 total budget of David X. Sullivan, her opponent in 2020. Manny Santos, the GOP nominee in 2018, raised only $76,000.

About half the money raised by Hayes this year came from political action committees, including one financed by Walmart and another by the National Education Association.

Hayes, a former national teacher of the year, is the first Black woman elected to Congress from Connecticut. Logan was the only Black member of the Senate Republican caucus when he lost last year to Jorge Cabrera, 52% to 48%.

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ARIELLE LEVIN BECKER
George Logan of Ansonia looks up at the state Senate gallery in 2017, when he was one of four new Republican senators. He is expected to attempt a comeback with a congressional bid next year.

The cash on hand reported by Hayes as of June 30 was exceeded by only one other incumbent: Himes, who had $1.8 million.

Down-ballot Democrats can expect to benefit from a get-out-the-vote effort with two deep-pocketed candidates leading the ticket: Gov. Ned Lamont, who spent $15 million in a largely self-funded campaign in 2018, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

With no serious opponent yet to emerge, Blumenthal has raised more than $1 million in each of the two quarterly reporting periods this year and has banked $6 million in cash in his quest for a third term.

Lamont is not expected to formally announce his campaign until early next year.

Themis Klarides, the former state House Republican leader, has filed candidate papers that allow her to begin spending her own money on a gubernatorial campaign, but not raise money.

She recently reported $63,000 in initial expenditures, hiring a consultant, Battleground Strategies, a media production company, Red October Productions, and a staffer, Sebastian Rougemont.

Bob Stefanowski, the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee in 2018, is weighing another run, but he has not filed exploratory or candidate committee papers.

The only statewide Democrat known to not be seeking reelection is Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.

Republicans are in rebuilding mode. Proto, who was elected state chair three weeks ago, took over a party that has no staff, thin finances and has lost state legislative seats in each of the past two cycles, while holding no congressional seats or statewide constitutional offices.

“I’ve told people that if you expect that tomorrow morning we’re going to be the Florida state Republican Party, that’s probably not gonna happen,” Proto said. “But if you allow us the opportunity to rebuild this and build a solid foundation, which is going to take some time, then I think you’ll see good things happen.”

His initial focus is narrow: Hiring an executive director, then providing support for a special election that gives Republicans a chance to win back a state Senate seat in Greenwich that had long been safe for the GOP. The vacancy was created by the resignation last month of Democratic Sen. Alex Kasser. The special election will be held to decide who finishes Kasser’s term, which ends in 2022.