Messaging Discipline Works. Being Scattershot Doesn't.
Republican George Logan, the 5th district candidate for Congress lost his election bid, but only by 1,842 votes. A narrow loss for a position that would have made him the first Republican Congressman from Connecticut in almost 15 years.
FIC Action Committee is a state PAC. We begin our post-election message with news about a federal race because it illuminates what did–and did not–happen in state races this year. More on that in a moment.
First, the good news. 20 out of 27 FIC PAC-endorsed candidates won their races for state legislature. That is a 74% win ratio.
We are going to need them. The overall picture is not pretty.
Democrats padded their majorities in both houses of the General Assembly. Kim Fiorello, one of the best new legislators of the class of 2020, lost her seat. A large number of Republican retirements hurt the pro-family cause in other districts.
We can expect a very challenging legislative session next year. Assisted suicide, an abortion amendment to our state constitution, another attack on pregnancy centers and more transgender legislation are all possible.
Nationally, the expected “Red Wave” turned out to be a red ripple. The GOP will likely take the House of Representatives by a small margin. Control of the Senate is still unknown.
The counterexample is Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida. He ran an aggressive campaign against wokeness and won in a landslide.
Connecticut is not Florida. A look at Connecticut’s biggest races, however, shows why Ron DeSantis’ victory holds lessons even for our state.
No single Republican candidate for high office in Connecticut was more successful in 2022 than George Logan. And George Logan’s messaging discipline was exemplary.
The Democrat strategy in 2022 was to paint every Republican opponent as “extremist” on abortion. Conservatives like Leora Levy or Mike France, moderates like George Logan or Bob Stefanowski, liberals like Jayme Stevenson. According to the Democratic Party and its media stenographers, to be a Republican was to be “extremist” by definition.
When this strategy was employed against George Logan, he responded every time by challenging his opponent on parental consent and late-term abortion. Every. time.
Like DeSantis in Florida, George Logan went on offense. He exposed his opponent as the true extremist who does not support ANY limits on abortion.
Compare this with gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski.
Pro-lifers see May of 2022 as peak-Bob. He responded to abortion attacks by going on the offense against Gov. Ned Lamont on parental notification. A Quinnipiac poll in late May showed 70% of likely Connecticut voters agreed with Bob.
And then…something happened. We don’t know why. But the issue of parental notification was de-emphasized.
In a September commercial, Stefanowski’s wife and daughters assured the public that Bob’s not an extremist because he’s pro-choice. No mention of parental notification.
Worse, the commercial’s implicit acceptance of the “pro-life = extremist” message left Bob’s pro-life supporters discouraged. About a month later, when Bob retracted his statement opposing abortion after the first trimester, pro-life dissatisfaction with Bob boiled over. We started hearing from people who said they would no longer vote for him.
Now contrast this unfortunate history with that of George Logan. Again, George Logan made his opponent own her pro-abortion extremism every time. Every. time.
This is not to say that we are in complete agreement with George Logan or with the GOP. If Logan had won, his philosophical opposition to federal legislation protecting the unborn would have put us at odds with him in the years ahead. And we give thanks to God every time a pro-life Democrat like West Haven state representative Trenee McGee emerges.
But FIC PAC has long criticized the CT GOP for its avoidance of social issues. That George Logan fought on those issues, and came close to winning, is a significant step forward. So is the willingness of CT GOP Chairman Ben Proto, and other Republicans, to give voice to parents frustrated by the radicalization of their children’s schools.
So, too, are Bob Stefanowski’s attempts. He ran a better campaign in 2022 than 2018. Had he run this campaign in 2018, when his opponent was not a popular incumbent, he might have won.
The CT GOP in 2022 made its first, tentative, halting, attempt to embrace social issues. They were not wrong to do it. They only have to execute it better.
Ron DeSantis and George Logan show the way.