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Ex-WWE CEO McMahon Hopes To Lay The Smackdown On Senate Seat

Danny Lee |
October 8, 2012 | 12:50 p.m. PDT

Senior Staff Reporter

Linda McMahon, seen here at a campaign stop in Milford, Conn., is in position to capture a U.S. Senate seat. (Sgt. R.K. Blue/Wikimedia Commons)
Linda McMahon, seen here at a campaign stop in Milford, Conn., is in position to capture a U.S. Senate seat. (Sgt. R.K. Blue/Wikimedia Commons)
A candidate with a background in pro wrestling might be what Republicans need to score a pinfall that could help them regain control of the U.S. Senate in November.

Sen. Joe Lieberman retiring at the end of his current term opened a seat for former WWE CEO Linda McMahon and Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy to contend for in Connecticut. A Quinnipiac University poll released last Thursday showed McMahon with a one-point lead among likely voters in a heavily blue state, and a victory here would help the GOP slice into the Democrats' 51-47 edge in the 100-seat U.S. Senate.

The wife of current WWE chairman Vince McMahon spent $50 million of her own money in a losing effort to Richard Blumenthal in 2010 and once again has the financial advantage over her opponent. She has shelled out more than $15 million during this run and bombarded Connecticut TV stations with ads that have effectively rebooted her image among Connecticut voters and portrayed Murphy in a negative light.

But for the 64-year-old wrestling mogul to succeed, she might need the backing of women voters who supported Blumenthal by 19 percentage points two years ago.

The Murphy campaign has trotted out TV ads accusing McMahon's Stamford, Conn.-based WWE of demeaning women in its programming, while also suggesting that she would support legislation allowing employers to opt out of covering contraceptives in their health plan. McMahon has since responded with an ad portraying herself as a "pro-choice" woman who provided health benefits to female employees during her time as CEO.

The first debate on Sunday saw McMahon flub a question about same-sex marriage when she said, "I absolutely support America's law for, you know, same-sex marriage," after which Murphy mentioned that such a law does not exist. Murphy also criticized McMahon of laying off 10 percent of her company's workforce.

But despite the setbacks, the money factor will ensure that McMahon will be in it until the end.

From the Huffington Post:

"McMahon has done a good job defining Murphy, who was not well known statewide, in a negative way," said Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac poll. "McMahon's blanketing the airwaves with TV ads appears to be working."

The poll found 84 percent of voters have seen McMahon's campaign ads "often," compared to 64 percent who said the same of Murphy's ads. Two-thirds of voters say the McMahon ads are "very effective" or "somewhat effective," while about half said the same of Murphy's.

The candidates have debates scheduled for Oct. 11, Oct. 15 and Oct. 18 before election day.

Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on the 2012 election here.

Reach Senior Staff Reporter Danny Lee here; follow him on Twitter here.



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