Face the Facts: UConn Professor Provides Insight on Congressional Race

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It's been 16 years since a Republican represented Connecticut in Congress and some analysts say George Logan has a real chance at flipping the fifth district back to red.

NBC Connecticut's Mike Hydeck spoke with University of Connecticut Professor Paul Herrnson about it.

Mike Hydeck: So as we know, midterm elections historically favor the party that's not in the White House. As you watch the campaign progress and maybe read some of the polls, should we expect a red wave or something different?

Paul Herrnson: I don't believe there's going to be a red wave in Connecticut, and there are a few reasons for that, though. One is, while the president's party usually loses seats in a midterm election is because the election is often considered a referendum on the sitting president, in this case, Donald Trump has imposed himself in the race to make it almost as if it's a choice between the two. So that may reduce the size of any red wave that we thought might be coming. Also, because of the Dobbs decision, women have been mobilized and registering in record numbers across the country, which could have an impact on some races.

Mike Hydeck: So regarding the Fifth District seats, specifically, it's been listed as vulnerable by some analysts, including 538. They predict that Logan could be as close as five percentage points. Now Jahana Hayes won by 50 points last time around. Does this have to do with Hayes, the White House or something else do you think?

Paul Herrnson: No, I have been looking at what the handicappers have to say. And most of the pundits have this race as either likely Democratic, lean Democratic, or lean Democratic. They don't have it is one of the toss up races. Still, as you point out, it has generated some interest, in part because it's likely to be the most competitive race in Connecticut, and it will be likely one of the few competitive races in New England. Hayes has some advantages. She's represented the district for quite a while. Her district hasn't changed very much following redistricting. And she has all the incumbent's advantages of visibility, having developed relationships with constituents, represented them. Then, plus, she has a huge fundraising advantage. She's raised about $1.5 million, compared to Logan's $475,000. Still, the race has attracted some national attention. Hayes collected more than $180,000 from Democratic leadership PACs, which indicate her colleagues value having her as an ally in the house. And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent about $370,000, mostly to oppose Logan. So we have this situation where there are possibilities. Perhaps the Republicans see them. And perhaps the Democrats nationally see them too and they're trying to shore up the seat.

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