U.S. Capitol

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, widened her fundraising lead over Republican George Logan in what is widely seen as Connecticut’s most competitive congressional race.

The designation of the 5th District as a targeted race for national Republicans has attracted television advertising by a conservative independent-expenditure group, but it has yet to translate into fundraising success for Logan.

Reports due Friday show that Hayes outpaced Logan by a 3-1 margin for the second consecutive financial quarter and ended June with nearly $1.7 million in cash on hand, compared to $204,825 for Logan.

Hayes reported net contributions of $317,036 for the three-month period ending June 30; Logan raised $102,034 over the same period, a slight improvement from the $90,415 he collected in the first three months of the year.

But Logan, a former state senator who opened his campaign on July 21, 2021, raised more in the third and fourth quarters of 2021 than in the first two of 2022: $262,803 versus $212,411.

“Donors are feeling the inflation across the country right now,” said Paul Amarone, the manager of Logan’s campaign. “I don’t think it’s just a 5th District issue.”

A prediction model used by the political web site, FiveThirtyEight, rates the race as a toss-up. Republicans last won the seat in 2004, and the Connecticut congressional delegation has been all Democratic for nearly 16 years.

“I think the GOP and national pollsters underestimate the uniqueness of voters in this district,” said Barbara Ellis, the manager of Hayes’ campaign. “Running a generic national campaign in the hopes that there will be a national red wave will not work here.”

Hayes won with 56% of the vote in 2018 and 55% in 2020, but the district has slightly favored Republicans in gubernatorial races, giving the GOP cause to believe it can be a battleground with the right candidate and adequate funding.

The American Action Network spent an estimated $300,000 in the last two weeks of June on television ads mocking Hayes for saying that the Democrat’s pandemic relief packages saved the economy.

“George is working hard every day to connect with donors here in Connecticut and across the country,” Amarone said. He called the toss-up designation by FiveThirtyEight “a positive sign for the race.”

Ellis said Hayes’ financial support in the district is “proof that the voters here approve of her work and she still has overwhelming support in district.”

The district runs along Connecticut’s western border with New York from Danbury in the south to the Litchfield Hills in the state’s northwest corner, encompassing struggling small cities like Meriden and New Britain and upscale Farmington Valley suburbs.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.