In a midterm election year when voters are choosing their candidates based solely on party the stakes couldn’t be higher for U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes and Republican George Logan.
Logan is vying to become the first Republican in 14 years to claim victory for a congressional seat and Hayes is trying to clinch a third-term. Control of the House of Representatives is in the balance.
On Sunday, Logan was shaking hands in Wolcott, Middlebury and door-knocking in the Farmington Valley, while Hayes was holding rallies in Meriden and Southbury.
Hayes was joined by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy who knows first hand how hard it is to win in the 5th District.
“I was down in my second reelection race by like six points,” Murphy told a crowd in Southbury. “Jahana is defending a lead, but these races are close in the 5th.”
The only public poll of the race showed Logan up 1%, which is within the margin of error.
“We always do our work especially in those final few days to make sure nobody sits this one out,” Murphy said.
However, there are still hurdles, especially this year.
“It’s true candidate quality matters a little less today than it did years ago,” Murphy said. “But people in Connecticut pay attention to who is going to control Congress and people in northwest Connecticut are not excited about Marjorie Taylor Greene being in charge of the House of Representatives.”
He said that’s why a lot of Connecticut voters will be pulling the lever for Hayes because they just can’t stomach a Republican Party being empowered by Logan. He said the vote that matters most is a vote for Speaker and Murphy believes Logan will vote for Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
“George Logan is going to empower the Trump Republicans in Congress,” Murphy said. “The Republicans are going to wage war on Connecticut.”
Liz Kurantowicz, a campaign consultant for Logan, said that’s a hypocritical statement.
“The notion that a member of Congress would be an independent thinker and vote in the best interest of their constituents is a foreign concept to Senator Murphy and Congresswoman Hayes,” Kurantowicz said. “They’re so used to voting in lock step with their party they can’t fathom the idea that anyone could go to Washington and do anything but vote 100% of the time with their party leader as Congresswoman Hayes has done with Nancy Pelosi and with the most extreme members of the Democrat party.”
The stakes on Tuesday couldn’t be higher.
“The 5th is designed to be competitive and it’s no shocker that it’s competitive again this year,” Murphy said.
Hayes said Logan is more aligned with Trump Republicans than he wants people to think.
“People have given him a pass to frame who he is for over a year,” Hayes said. “And I think in the final days of this campaign he is himself.”
Hayes took some of the responsibility for not pointing out some of the statements Logan has made during the campaign.
“Shame on me for not very early on making the contrast because I really believe you run on the issues,” Hayes said. “Even me attacking him on those things, he’s showing on his own who he is and he’s more aligned with the party than he’s getting credit for.”
Logan’s campaign disagreed.
“Voters are rejecting their hyper-partisanship and fear mongering and that’s why George has all the momentum and energy in this race,” Kurantowicz said. “People are tired of the broken politics on Capitol Hill perpetuated by Congresswoman Hayes and they’re ready for George Logan who has a bi-partisan voting record and has worked across the aisle to get things done for his constituents.“
Three women who support Logan and the rest of the Republican slate stood on the side of the road near Southbury Town Hall during Hayes’ event Sunday.
Amy White of Stratford, who says she knew Logan when he was a state Senator in Ansonia, said she supports Logan and even though she doesn’t live in the 5th she’s campaigning for him.
“I don’t know what Jahana Hayes has done for the people,” White said.
She said Logan was very present as a state Senator and was out there talking to constituents.
She said she hopes people vote Tuesday thinking about “who is going to do the best thing for you and your family.”
Hayes said she supports her constituents regardless of party.
“I’ve been intentional – even some of the reddest places in this district to make sure they got the help and the support that they need,” Hayes said.
She said she secured $3 million for the Wolcott Police Department, even though that’s one of the 41 towns in the district she’s never going to win.
“I represent those people as well,” Hayes said. “But I also represent people who have been disengaged from politics and voting – who that party line is of very little consequence to them.”
Hayes was recently criticized by CTInsider for not adhering to the political playbook and for not showing up at some Democratic Party events in her district and then not talking to the right people when she walks in a room.
“I know exactly who I’m supposed to talk to when I walk in a room,” Hayes said. “I spend time with the people serving the food, and the people opening the doors and the people who say ‘oh my God it’s you can I share something with you that happened to me.’ And I spend the same amount of time with them that I spend with the highest elected officials because those people matter to me.”
The product of public housing Hayes said she’s the representative that she needed someone to be for her when she was in a situation to need government assistance.