U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes has won reelection in Connecticut’s 5th District, defeating Republican challenger George Logan by fewer than 2,000 votes following a contentious race that grabbed the national spotlight and saw a record amount of national spending.
With the race too close to call on Tuesday night, the campaigns had been closely watching the race throughout the day Wednesday. Hayes was holding an ultra-thin lead over Logan with the results from the town of Salisbury still unknown. Once the results came in from Salisbury, both the office of the Secretary of the State and the Associated Press called the race for Hayes.
“This was a hard fought race that was unfortunately fueled by millions of dollars in outside spending. But ultimately, the people of this district are the ones to decide who their representative will be – not national Super PACs,” Hayes said in a statement before holding a press conference in Waterbury. “The Fifth District is my home, and I’m humbled to have the opportunity to continue serving you in the House of Representatives.”
Andrew Miano, the spokesman for the Secretary of the State’s office, sent a statement that there were some “technical difficulties” related to returns of the vote totals in Salisbury, which is in the northwestern most corner of the state.
“The inclusion of these vote totals brings the margin of victory for Rep. Hayes to 1,842 votes. This total exceeds any statutory margin of victory that would necessitate a recount,” Miano said. “As such, with the inclusion of Salisbury’s vote totals, there is no statutory requirement for a recount in the 5th Congressional District.”
The numbers from Salisbury widened the congresswoman’s lead and put her margin of victory outside the window of a recount. Connecticut law requires an automatic recount if the margin between the candidates is less than 0.5% of total votes cast. There is no deadline set for completion of the recount.
More than 250,000 votes were cast in the contest. The 0.5% threshold would have been a margin of about 1,250 votes.
Logan scheduled a Thursday morning press conference in New Britain but issued no immediate statement in response to the race being called for Hayes.
Hayes scored a major victory in a race that polls indicated would be a dead heat. While control of the U.S. House is still up for grabs, Democrats generally overperformed in Tuesday’s midterm elections, which historically favor the party out of power. Republicans need a net gain of five seats to win back the majority.
It was Hayes’ closest reelection race since she first ran in 2018 and had won her two previous elections with double-digits margins. Her victory in the 5th District means Connecticut’s congressional delegation will remain all-blue. Republicans have not won a House seat in the state since 2006 and many saw Logan, a former state senator, as their best shot in years.
The 5th District is typically the most competitive race in the state, but this year, the campaign reached new heights with upwards of $12 million in outside spending from both parties that blanketed the region with ads.
Late Tuesday night, the candidates each told their supporters to be patient and to expect an unresolved race that night. Both Hayes and Logan signaled optimism as they held election watch parties three miles away from each other in Waterbury.
But earlier on Wednesday afternoon, while Logan was still narrowly in the lead and before Salisbury’s vote totals were in, his campaign projected confidence about the results.
“We’re closely monitoring the vote count, but given the results reported by the secretary of state, we’re confident that after all the votes are counted we believe George Logan will be the next Congressman from Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District,” Logan campaign senior advisor Liz Kurantowicz said in a statement.
Hayes had not issued any public statements about the outcome of the race until the vote totals were reported in Salisbury.
The issues that animated competitive races across the U.S. came heavily into play in the 5th District, especially debate over the economy, what has contributed to inflation, and access to abortion both at the state and federal levels.
Al onger version of this story originally appeared at ctmirror.org, the website of The Connecticut Mirror.