Vote 2022: Hayes fighting for political future in competitive congressional race
After four years in Congress, Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes is in the fight of her political life. It’s a critical race where both parties are pulling out all the stops.
When Vice President Kamala Harris visited Connecticut this week, it was officially billed as a “roundtable” discussion on abortion access. But the political stakes were clear. Harris urged voters to send Hayes back to Congress.
"This is not a political event, but it is a fact that in 34 days there is a midterm coming up,” Harris said.
Hayes represents the Fifth Congressional District, the state's most competitive. It includes cities like Danbury and Waterbury, but also rural Litchfield County. Former state Sen. George Logan hopes to become the first Republican elected there since 2004.
On this week's "Connecticut Power and Politics," Hayes said abortion rights are on the ballot.
"If there is a national abortion ban, it doesn't matter what's in Connecticut state law,” she said. “A nationwide ban would override any Connecticut law."
Logan is also pro-choice, but does support a parental notification law.
“I do not support a national abortion ban,” he said. “I have a track record in the state legislature. I had a very good record when it comes to women's rights and women's reproductive rights."
Logan believes voters are focused on other issues.
"Folks that are tired of the status quo, tired of high inflation, tired of the surge in crime,” he said.
Conservatives blame Democrats for skyrocketing inflation, specifically calling out rounds of federal stimulus payments. But Hayes shot back.
"Inflation is happening globally. You can't blame a Democratic bill on global inflation,” she said. “We have a pandemic, a war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions."
Hayes and Logan also differ sharply on gun control, police reform and immigration.
Southern Connecticut State University political analyst Dr. Jonathan Wharton says the vice president's visit proves how close this race could be – and how critical the Fifth District is.
"It leans so close to either party, and it's been this way for years,” he said. “It's no surprise about that, but I think now you're seeing some actual interest and certainly some money coming in from outside the state."
Combined, Hayes and Logan have already spent more than $1 million– and outside groups are pouring in even more.
Watch our full interview with Hayes and Logan this weekend on "Power and Politics."