After winning his party’s endorsement last month, Republican 5th Congressional District candidate Manny Santos is spending his time in the district’s 41 towns and cities building name recognition and raising campaign funds.
“The campaign is going very well,” Santos said. “I’m getting good feed back from everyone I talk to. They are excited to get this election over with and finally get someone else to represent us.”
Santos, a former Meriden mayor, faces an uphill battle against Democrat Jahana Hayes, a Waterbury teacher and Wolcott resident who has the support of top state Democrats including U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut. She is also receiving financial help from Democrats inside and outside the state.
Hayes has prioritized direct voter contact since the primary, said spokesman Andrew Doba.
“She’s gone to events in every corner of the district and the positive response to her candidacy has been overwhelming,” Doba said. “When it comes to the issues, voters seem to know that she shares their values and ideals.”
Santos said his campaign war chest is in better shape now than during the primary, but he isn’t expecting much help from the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“They are focused on other races, the seats they can keep,” Santos said. Republicans are working nationally to try to retain their majority into the next Congress.
As of the last filing on July 27, Hayes had raised $459,386 and had $359,058 cash on hand. Santos had raised $25,652 and had $1,579 on hand.
“There is also some thought out there I’m going to do well no matter what I raise,” Santos said. “I think I have a great chance despite the disparity.”
During the primary, Santos focused on convincing Republican voters he was the best of the three Republican candidates. After victory, he switched his focus to concentrate more on his policy positions.
Santos has also made some changes in his campaign staff by bringing on a manager with a broader skill set outside of Connecticut. He would not name the new manager.
Santos has hit barbecues, fundraisers, and gatherings from New Fairfield to Farmington in recent weeks. He is also coordinating efforts, not cash, with other statewide GOP office seekers and U.S. Senate candidate Matthew Corey.
“There has been substantial coordination with various campaigns throughout the state,” he said. “We can’t intermingle money but we do coordinate efforts.”
Santos doesn’t expect to do any television advertising because it’s expensive and not well targeted, he said.
“We’ll have a much larger presence online,” he said.
There are several debates planned with Hayes. The Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce is hosting the first one, which is only for invited guests and the media, in Prospect on Oct. 4
The Republican State Central Committee will be working on an extensive get out the vote campaign that will benefit Santos, said Chairman J.R. Romano.
“I think he’s a tremendous candidate,” Romano said. “He is working really hard. He’s someone that will represent the district well in Washington, D.C.”