A few weeks ago, I suggested that Linda McMahon was an example of the poor vetting of the Tea Party organizations who allowed inadequate candidates to get the party’s nomination. In a very good year for Republicans in which the scandal-ridden incumbent Democrat decided not to run for reelection, the former World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. CEO lost by twelve points to Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Attorney General caught lying about his military record. This was after she spent $50 million of her own money. I came to the conclusion that former Congressman Rob Simmons would have been a much stronger candidate, considering his moderate positions and military record, and figured the party made a similar mistake in the current cycle by selecting McMahon again over another moderate former Congressman.
Now I may have to eat some crow. Shortly after I wrote that, Rasmussen had a poll with McMahon three points ahead in the 2012 Senate election. That’s easy to dismiss as an outlier, especially with Rasmussen’s conservative lean. But now Quinnpiac has her three points ahead. So, it seems that she’s a much more competitive candidate than I gave her credit for.
Because of her 2010 run, she likely has more name recognition than Chris Murphy, the Democratic nominee. She’s essentially been running for statewide office since September 2009, so it seems three years of advertising and free media have started to sway Independent voters.
Her profession is interesting from a campaign perspective. It’s difficult to pigeonhole her as a scold, a problem for many stylistically conservative candidates. She’s a grandmother who has been married for 45 years, so it’s difficult to attack her personal life. Blue-collar voters like wrestling, while white-collar voters like Independent businesswomen.
Chris Murphy, a third-term Congressman who won the office in the Democratic wave elections of 2006, may be a poor candidate for the Democrats. This is not the year for a young Congressman running as a generic liberal. In contrast, Richard Blumenthal had twenty years of service in statewide office, during which he was able to build a record that would impress many of the voters who supported Republican Governors like John Rowland and Jodi Rell.
There is a history of prosecutors getting elected to the Senate in Connecticut. Departing Senator Joe Lieberman had preceded Blumenthal as State Attorney General. Chris Dodd’s father Thomas Dodd had become famous for prosecuting the KKK in the 1930s and the Nazis in Nuremberg. It’s possible that George Jepsen, the former State Senate Majority Leader and current State Attorney General, will be a strong contender for the Senate in 2018. That will be something for Linda McMahon to worry about when she seeks a second term in the Senate.