Rep. Jahana Hayes spoke before the discussion with Harris about abortion rights. Yehyun Kim /

Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, outpaced Republican opponent George Logan again in both fundraising and spending over the past three months. But the biggest spenders in the key race are not the candidates themselves.

Outside groups supporting both Hayes and Logan are making substantial investments to influence the campaign over the airwaves and have plowed more than $5 million into it. And aside from money, prominent leaders in both parties have traveled to the 5th District to campaign for a seat Democrats have held since 2007 that could play a major role in the battle for the U.S. House.

George Logan, the Republican nominee in the 5th Congressional District. MARK PAZNIOKAS / CTMIRROR.ORG

In the most recent fundraising quarter, which covers July through the end of September, Hayes raised more than twice the amount of Logan, bringing in about $736,000.

Hayes also spent nearly three times more than Logan during that same period: $866,000. She entered the final stretch of the race with about $1.5 million still left in the bank.

“The contrast between the number of in-district donors tells the story. We have over a thousand in-district donors this quarter alone,” Hayes campaign manager Barbara Ellis said in a statement. “Our support from people who live in CT-05 is strong, and we expect it to continue through Election Day.”

But Logan has steadily improved his fundraising numbers from the past two quarters of this year, hauling in more than $341,000 over the past three months.

Logan spent $300,000 over that same period and headed into the remaining weeks of the campaign with about $246,000 cash on hand.

“The response we’re getting from grassroots volunteers and donors has really energized the campaign and given us the momentum we need to close out strong,” Logan said in a statement. “The stakes for our country and our state have never been higher.”

While the candidates are stepping up on the money front, the national committees and super PACs working on behalf of their parties are doing the heavy lifting in the 5th District race, which is considered the most competitive in Connecticut.

Democrats won the seat back in 2006 and have held it ever since. Hayes, a former teacher, first came to Congress in 2019, becoming the first Black woman to serve in the U.S. House from Connecticut. She won her past two House elections by double-digit margins, and President Joe Biden similarly carried her district by 11 percentage points in 2020.

But Republicans see Logan as one of their best chances to pick up a seat in Connecticut — and in New England overall, which is almost entirely represented by Democrats at the federal level. Connecticut’s congressional delegation has been all blue since 2009.

Logan, the son of Guatemalan immigrants who had roots in Jamaica, served in the state Senate from 2017 to 2021. He is currently a government affairs official for Aquarion, a water company owned by Eversource.

The main Republican group backing Logan — the Congressional Leadership Fund — has spent about $2.5 million in advertising. The super PAC has played heavily in key House races over the past few election cycles. CLF now hopes to help deliver Republicans control of the lower chamber for the first time since the 2018 midterm elections.

CLF has run an ad spotlighting Logan’s biography and background in the state Senate but has largely gone on offense by attacking Hayes’ alignment with Democratic leaders. The group has specifically focused on the congresswoman when she said “Democrats single-handedly saved the economy.” Hayes argues that Republicans are misusing the line from a past town hall where she said she was referring to the federal pandemic relief package, the American Rescue Plan, that received support only from Democrats.

On the Democratic side, Hayes is getting a big boost from the party’s own super PAC, House Majority PAC, which has incrementally put money into the race, with a current total of nearly $1.5 million. The independent expenditure arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which cannot coordinate with either the candidate or the campaign committee, has also spent more than $1 million.

Democratic ads are largely taking aim at Logan over the issue of abortion rights, which has become a major flashpoint in the 5th District race. Vice President Kamala Harris recently visited New Britain to discuss threats to abortion access and reproductive health care, but the official event essentially functioned as a campaign stop for Hayes.

Logan supports a woman’s right to choose but opposes late-term abortions. He said he will not back a national abortion ban and believes the issue should be left up to the states. Connecticut law protects the right to an abortion.

He has called the attack ads over the issue “blatant lies.” But Democratic groups stand by them, pointing to Logan’s association with leaders in his party who want to limit abortion rights.

With three weeks left until the Nov. 8 race, groups in both parties have spent a total of nearly $5.5 million in the 5th District, according to an analysis of party spending from California Target Book. Democrats are currently outspending the GOP by about $428,000.

Lisa Hagen is CT Mirror and CT Public's shared Federal Policy Reporter. Based in Washington, D.C., she focuses on the impact of federal policy in Connecticut and covers the state’s congressional delegation. Lisa previously covered national politics and campaigns for U.S. News & World Report, The Hill and National Journal’s Hotline. She is a New Jersey native and graduate of Boston University.

José is CT Mirror's data reporter, reporting data-driven stories and integrating data visualizations into his colleagues' stories. Prior to joining CT Mirror he spent the summer of 2022 at the Wall Street Journal as an investigative data intern. Prior to that, José held internships or fellowships with Texas Tribune, American Public Media Group, ProPublica, Bloomberg and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. A native of Houston, he graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in journalism.