Republican George Logan conceded a hard fought and close battle for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District to U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes Thursday morning outside GOP headquarters in New Britain.
Logan said he still had concerns about the counting and reporting of the election results, which is lawyers had been scrutinizing for more than a day.
“Our legal team has investigated many of those concerns and have come to the conclusion that our issues would not yield enough votes to change the outcome of the election and we have no legal recourse to force a recount,” Logan said. “The time has come for this campaign to end and for all of us to come together and work for a brighter future.”
Logan told reporters he had called Hayes to congratulate her on “her campaign and her victory.”
The concession came a few hours after Hayes claimed victory following a statement from the secretary of the state’s office concerning delayed results from the town of Salisbury, which put Hayes’s margin of victory at 1,842, beyond the threshold for a mandatory recount in races closer than .5%.
During a press conference Wednesday, Hayes said the results were closer than expected, but “Elections are about math. I won.”
Logan’s narrow loss is the closest Republicans have come to winning Connecticut’s most competitive district since now-Sen. Chris Murphy defeated Republican former Rep. Nancy Johnson in 2006. Two years ago, Hayes defeated her Republican opponent David X. Sullivan by more than 40,000 votes.
Her victory this week cements a winning election cycle for Democrats in Connecticut, where they retained control of the governor’s office and the state legislature and returned their candidates to the U.S. House and Senate.
Following Logan’s short concession remarks, state Republican chairman Ben Proto spoke candidly with reporters about his party’s performance this year.
“The biggest issue that I think we have to look at is our ability to communicate with voters in a digital world,” Proto said. “The Democrats do it better than we do. Flat-out, they do it better than we do… You all live in a digital world and we have to get better at communicating in that world.”
More than most, the 5th District race both drew attention and funding from outside of Connecticut. Sensing a competitive contest, national Republicans and associated spending committees flooded airwaves with ads attacking Hayes while Democratic groups seeking to retain the seat funded attacks on Logan.
Despite Hayes’s reelection, it seemed likely Thursday that Republicans would retake the U.S. House, albeit by a more narrow than expected margin. Control of the U.S. Senate remained uncertain.
After claiming victory on Wednesday, Hayes said she was surprised at how the race deviated from the issues and went to personal attacks.
“There was a lot in this campaign that did not have to happen,” Hayes said referring to the negative nature of the race.
When she decided to run for reelection, Hayes said the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol was in the back of her mind and she worried that denying the results of the election could happen in this race too.
“And that is a dangerous proposition,” she added. “That is the reason I did not comment on the race while the votes were still being tallied. That was the reason why I hadn’t put out any kind of statement. I was waiting for the secretary of the state’s official numbers.”
Hayes warned that “people have to be very careful about that, planting the seed of distrust in our elections. When that seed festers we end up with violent attacks like we saw January 6.”
In New Britain, Proto stressed that Republicans were not disputing Hayes’s victory. But he did criticize the secretary of the state’s office for the way its unofficial results were posted inconsistently and fluctuated since the election.
“No one is denying that George lost this election, but the secretary of the state’s website right now, this moment says the difference was 777 votes. The registrars in Salisbury are telling us they still can’t enter information into that system,” Proto said.