NEW BRITAIN — Republican George Logan announced Thursday morning that he is conceding Connecticut’s 5th District race to Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes after his team “scrutinized” the votes over the past day and a half.
Logan said it was a “good, hard-fought battle,” but that he could not overcome the congresswoman’s margin. Hayes leads Logan by fewer than 2,000 votes, which is outside the 0.5% margin that triggers an automatic recount in Connecticut elections.
“Our team of lawyers and election workers have spent the last 36 hours scrutinizing the results. We still have concerns about the counting and reporting of the votes,” Logan said outside the Republican National Committee’s community center in New Britain, surrounded by his team, GOP officials and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart.
“Our issues would not yield enough votes to change the outcome of the election. We have no legal recourse to force a recount. The time has come for this campaign to end and for all of us to come together toward a brighter future for our state and our nation,” Logan said to audible sighs and disappointment from about 20 supporters who gathered to watch his speech. Some shouted “recount” before Logan began speaking.
Logan, who said he spoke to Hayes by phone this morning to congratulate her, was Republicans’ best chance to win a U.S. House seat in Connecticut since 2006. While Logan lost, it was the closest margin the 5th District has seen in years since Hayes previously won her past two elections with double-digit percentages.
Former Rep. Chris Shays was the last Republican to win from the state. Connecticut’s congressional delegation has been entirely represented by Democrats since Shays left office. And it will now remain all blue after Hayes’ victory.
With the race too close to call on Tuesday night, the campaigns had been closely watching the vote tally 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 Secretary of the State’s office explained why those vote totals did not appear on the website and that her margin was outside the requirement for an automatic recount, 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 on Wednesday. “The Fifth District is my home, and I’m humbled to have the opportunity to continue serving you in the House of Representatives.”
Logan did not identify what issues his team had with the results, but Ben Proto, chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party, noted that registrars in Salisbury as of Thursday morning could still not input results into the system due to software issues.
“George lost – no ifs, ands or buts about that. But we should have known that much sooner and the results should be more accurate,” Proto told reporters. “The secretary’s office is broken. Its election system is broken. And the legislature needs to step in and fix this.”
He also reflected on what went wrong for the GOP in both the state and around the country in the midterm elections. Republicans had anticipated a “red wave” since the party out of power historically does well in midterms. But control of Congress is still hanging in the balance a few days out.
Proto said a few things contributed to Republicans’ defeat in the district, including that it “turned on the top of the ticket.” Unlike in 2018, GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowksi lost in the 5th. And Proto said GOP Senate candidate Leora Levy did not do as well as anticipated in the area. He also said that Democrats communicate better on digital platforms.
And when it comes to policy, Proto said his party needs to find “the right tone between fiscal issues and the social issues.” In the 5th District, Democrats highlighted the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade and the differences between the candidates’ positions on abortion rights, while Republicans focused more on using the economy and inflation as a wedge issue – similar dynamics that played out nationwide.
“It’s finding the right message and how to message that,” Proto said. “I think we’ve learned a lot and we’re going to learn a lot over the next few days and months about what happened here.”
This story originally appeared at ctmirror.org, the website of The Connecticut Mirror.