Republican George Logan announced Monday he is running again for Congress, likely setting up another high-profile rematch against U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, in Connecticut’s most competitive district.
Logan — a former state senator who works for Aquarion, a water company owned by Eversource — narrowly lost to Hayes last November by 2,004 votes. He is hoping to unseat her as House Republicans seek to hang onto their slim majority in the 2024 elections.
As he gears up for another race, Logan is vowing to work with lawmakers in both parties while knocking his opponent for being a “rubber stamp” for the Biden administration. Connecticut’s congressional delegation is currently made up of all Democrats.
“What I keep hearing from everyone across the district is a frustration that politicians representing us in Washington don’t have their priorities straight. A gallon of gas is fifty cents more today than it was a year ago. Paying the rent, and buying groceries is breaking the backs of too many hard-working people in our communities,” Logan said in a statement.
“Our paycheck buys less and less because politicians in Washington spent recklessly, and now we’re all paying the price. We’ve got elected leaders in Washington who would rather default on our debts than come to the table and compromise,” he added.
Logan, the son of Guatemalan immigrants who had roots in Jamaica, got into state politics in 2016 when he won his first election and unseated a longtime Democratic state senator. He won again in 2018 but narrowly lost reelection in 2020.
A Republican from Connecticut has not served in the U.S. House since 2009. The last Republican to represent the state’s 5th District was former Rep. Nancy Johnson, who lost reelection in 2006 to Democrat Chris Murphy, who is now a U.S. senator.
More than 100 people attended Logan’s campaign kickoff on Monday evening at the American Legion Hall in Watertown. Shortly after he began his remarks, he asked everyone to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, but his mother Olga and son Hunter did not get up right away. Logan spoke to his mother, who then stood up, but his 24-year-old son remained seated.
His son declined to comment on why he did not stand. When asked about it by reporters after the event, the candidate said he was not sure what happened but would talk with him later.
“I have to chat with Hunter. I’m not quite sure why he didn’t rise, but the kids are independent,” Logan said. “They do their own thing.”
Similar to last year’s campaign, Logan’s speech focused on inflation and the high cost of gas. In response to some House Republicans’ demands on government funding bills that almost caused a shutdown over the weekend, he said he would not stand with lawmakers who obstruct such funding.
Logan said he agreed with the decision of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to move forward on a short-term funding bill that will keep the government open through mid-November.
“I think it’s important that we run our country. We need to make sure we fund the government,” Logan said. “I like the work that [McCarthy] was doing in terms of trying to get that bipartisan unity so that we get something done. And he succeeded, so I’m very happy about that.”
After Logan’s announcement earlier in the day, Hayes labeled him a “Trump extremist.” He pushed back that Hayes is playing politics by trying to link him to Donald Trump and conservative hardliners in Congress. Logan did not mention the former president during his speech, and when asked after if he would campaign with Trump, the former state senator said he would be campaigning on his own.
While his speech avoided red-meat issues meant to animate the base, Logan’s new campaign video leaned a little more into that by wading into the debate over gas appliances.
The ad features his mother, Olga, who played a role in past campaign ads for his 2022 race. The video shows government agents taking away appliances as his mother cooks, making a reference to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission considering regulations on new gas stoves over health concerns.
“As bad as things were a year ago, they’ve only gotten worse. As ridiculous as all this seems, politicians in Washington have their priorities upside down, arguing which stoves Americans are cooking on while working families struggle to put food on the table,” Logan said in the video.
“I’m running for Congress because my opponent is a rubber stamp for every one of President Biden’s bad ideas,” he added.
In June, the GOP-led House passed a bill preventing the agency from using federal funds to ban gas stoves. Twenty-nine Democrats supported that legislation, including Hayes. But the bill’s fate is unclear in the Senate.
Hayes, who became the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress, announced in August she would seek a fourth term. Before getting into politics, she was a teacher in Waterbury and was named the 2016 National Teacher of the Year.
In a statement following Logan’s announcement, Hayes called him “an anti-choice Trump extremist.” During the last campaign, Logan said he opposes a national abortion ban backed by a number of Republicans but also said he did not believe Congress had the constitutional right to protect abortion rights federally.
At the time, he said he agreed with the U.S. Supreme Court that the issue of abortion rights should be left to the states. Connecticut has codified abortion rights into state law, and Hayes supports legislation that would do that on a federal level.
“It is fitting that he would announce one day after we witnessed the chaos and confusion of extreme House Republicans, who could not even pass their own bill to avoid a government shutdown and on the same day that Trump once again appears in court,” Hayes said.
“I will do everything in my power to beat him yet again, so that Trump and dysfunctional House Republicans do not have an ally in the district that I call home,” she added.
Logan rejected Hayes’ characterization of him when it came to his views on abortion rights and his association with the former president. At Monday’s campaign launch, he said he supports state’s rights as well as the protections that Connecticut offers on access to abortion.
While Hayes won her two previous elections by double-digit margins in 2018 and 2020, her most recent race against Logan was one of the most competitive and expensive in years. The 2022 race saw upwards of $12 million in spending between both parties and outside groups.
Hayes’ position as an incumbent and her earlier announcement gives her an advantage on fundraising for her reelection. The most recent federal fundraising filings from July show she has more than $620,000 in the bank.
Since the beginning of 2023, Hayes has raised about $476,000 and spent more than $215,000, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Logan’s most recent FEC filing from July shows he has about $8,900 in the bank. His decision to run again in 2024 came a few months later in the off year than when he announced his campaign for the 2022 election.
The Connecticut Mirror/Connecticut Public Radio federal policy reporter position is made possible, in part, by funding from the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation and Engage CT.