He wasn’t exactly being coy about it. When former congressional candidate George Logan tweeted a message about a “special announcement” to be made this week, anyone who follows Connecticut politics knew exactly what he meant. Less than a year after losing in his bid to unseat 5th District Democratic Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, the former Republican state senator told supporters on Monday that he would try, try again.
Logan got off to a slow start in 2022. He was living in Ansonia, which is in the 3rd district, whose current U.S. representative, Democrat Rosa DeLauro, has been ensconced in that seat since 1990 and routinely wins re-election by 30 points or more.
There was no way Logan was going to knock DeLauro off, so he moved into a leased home in Meriden to run against Hayes, who was only finishing her second term in a competitive district. So right away Logan carried the carpet-bagger label. Unless your name is Kennedy or Clinton, that’s heavy baggage to lug around. Even so, he came within 2,000 votes of unseating Hayes.
It’s hard to say what has convinced Logan he can win this time around. At the top of the Republican ticket next fall will, in all likelihood, be the widely loathed President Donald Trump, who carries around more baggage than John Rowland ever dreamed of.
You can bet that at just about every public appearance and press availability, Logan will be asked about Trump, who lost the district by more than 10 points in 2020, refused to engage in a peaceful transition of power and now is facing dozens of felony charges. A quick search of Logan’s campaign website shows no mention of the word “Republican” or “Trump” anywhere. Contrast that with New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, whose homepage features a photo of her grinning proudly with the ex-president at a MAGA rally.
Logan’s “priorities” page includes, “fixing inflation,” securing the border and “giving first responders the tools they need.” Logan’s campaign kick-off video is an attempt to play on fears generated by proposals in Connecticut and elsewhere to limit or phase-out the use of gas stoves because of health concerns over indoor cooking emissions. Logan, who served as vice chair of the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee, should know better.
The video depicts grim-faced government agents, clad in black and wearing aviator sunglasses, entering the Logan residence to carry away his mom’s gas stove, as Logan’s Guatemala-born mother implores her beloved son: “What are you going to do about it George?”
First of all, these regulations apply to new construction. No one’s stove will be seized from their existing home and removed against their will. Secondly, it would behoove Logan to be a little more self-aware. In his day job, Logan works for a division of Eversource, the energy giant that depends on natural gas to generate electricity and itself supplies natural gas to nearly 900,000 customers in New England. Seems to me like Logan would have an interest in selling more natural gas, especially if, like many executives at Fortune 500 corporations, he owns stock options in the company.
In a brief interview with reporters after his announcement at the American Legion in Watertown, Logan said, “I think Washington has its priorities upside down … My issue is we need to focus on the economy, focus on making things affordable for residents. That is the point of my video.”
Hayes responded with a statement pointing to the hurdles Logan will have to climb in order to distance himself from the more extreme elements of his party in Washington who have fomented a crisis of leadership in the House of Representatives.
“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 in a statement on Monday.
Hayes noted that in 2022, Logan brought then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has just been ousted as speaker, and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Trump sycophant, to Connecticut to campaign for him. Hayes characterized Logan as an “anti-choice, Trump extremist, and 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.”
It looks like Logan will face no serious competition for the Republican nomination for the seat, but he will still have to motivate Republicans to show up in full force to vote for him next November, while attracting a sufficient number of independents. The only way he can win is to run as a old-style, moderate Republican in the mold of Nancy Johnson, who was the last Republican to represent the 5th until she was soundly defeated in 2006 by some guy named Chris Murphy.
But then Logan might be viewed by pro-Trump voters as a Republican in name only (RINO). Moreover, Trump is once again the chaos candidate, spawning a new generation of chaos makers who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, nearly shut down the federal government and have just voted to oust a House speaker who has only been in office for 269 days.
Worse yet, Logan won’t be able to campaign on a platform of responsible spending in Washington with a straight face because his party has been fully complicit in the unacceptable levels of debt and deficit spending. And where does he stand on the subject of abortion? In the wake of the Dobbs decision leaving regulations to the state and having previously stated his general opposition to late-term pregnancy termination, would Logan vote for any national restrictions on abortions rights? Will Logan vote for the Republican presidential nominee, even if he’s a convicted felon only steps away from prison?
He’ll have to answer these questions and more if he wants my vote and, I suspect, the votes of hundreds of thousands of others in the “Fightin’ Fifth,” the least Democratic congressional district in Connecticut.