- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
McMahon steps up pace in Connecticut race
Republican makes gains on her rival
Connecticut’s off-again, on-again Senate race has bedeviled prognosticators, but Republican nominee Linda McMahon has now firmly forced the seat back into the competitive column by making it a referendum on the character of Democratic rival and longtime state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
Mrs. McMahon has whittled down what had once seemed like an insurmountable 40 percentage-point deficit to 10 points by questioning Mr. Blumenthal’s credibility on his military service and now on his campaign finances. The Blumenthal camp insists the Democrat’s 20-year record of going after tobacco firms and pharmaceutical companies will win over voters in the end.
While Mr. Blumenthal bided his time during the often brutal GOP primary, his camp is showing why the race is expected to be a bare-knuckle battle by trying to use Mrs. McMahon’s tenure as the top executive at World Wrestling Entertainment against her. His supporters have cited racy storylines, premature deaths, steroid abuse and other scandals associated with the professional wrestling franchise.
“Linda McMahon is trying to whitewash her record,” said Mindy Myers, Mr. Blumenthal’s campaign manager. “She’s earned millions at the expense of the health and safety of her workers and by marketing violent and sexually explicit material to children. Now, she’s trying to buy herself a Senate seat with a $50 million attack machine offering Connecticut voters the worst of politics as usual. Even voters in her own party aren’t buying it.”
Republicans first started targeting the seat last year, when longtime Democratic incumbent Sen. Christopher J. Dodd was still seeking re-election. But with polls showing him severely damaged by personal scandals, Mr. Dodd dropped out in January and Mr. Blumenthal, long seen as Mr. Dodd’s heir apparent, promptly entered the race to succeed him.
But in the intervening months, Mrs. McMahon has steadily chipped away at Mr. Blumenthal’s lead and a Quinnipiac poll in early August showed her trailing Mr. Blumenthal by just 50 percent to 40 percent.
The Cook Report still pegs the seat as “leaning Democratic,” but last week said it may change its rating to a tossup as the campaign intensifies.
Most observers credit Mrs. McMahon’s climb in the polls to her deep pockets and aggressive advertising. Her campaign has already spent more than $21 million - most of it her own money - according to Federal Election Commission filings through July 21. The professional wrestling mogul has vowed to spend as much as $50 million of her own fortune on the race.
Mrs. McMahon’s war chest helped her beat former Rep. Rob Simmons in a bitter Republican Senate primary earlier this month. Mr. Simmons, the party establishment favorite, suggested in a concession speech that he would support Mrs. McMahon in the general election but later told the Connecticut Post he won’t ask his voters to back her; a second former rival, economist Peter Schiff, is still mulling an endorsement, according to the paper.
Unifying Republicans is vital for Mrs. McMahon in a state where registered Democratic voters outnumber the GOP 792,934 to 433,057. Even more important, though, is making inroads with Connecticut’s coveted nearly 1 million unaffiliated voters, whom both parties are fervently courting.
First the New York Times suggested Mr. Blumenthal had overstated his military service during the Vietnam War, when he was a member of a Marine Reserve unit stationed in the U.S. Mr. Blumenthal later apologized for misleading voters. Mrs. McMahon sent out mailers featuring war veterans questioning his integrity.
More recently, she has blasted him for his declaration in January that he has never taken contributions from political action committees, when FEC records showed he collected $482,903 from PACs and other non-party committees during his Senate bid. Mr. Blumenthal’s campaign said he was referring to the fact he didn’t take PAC contributions during his campaigns as attorney general.
Moving forward, Quinnipiac’s Mr. McLean said the debates between the two candidates - the first of three debates is scheduled for Oct. 4 - will be crucial, especially given that Mr. Blumenthal “has never had a tough political race.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kara Rowland, White House reporter for The Washington Times, is a D.C.-area native. She graduated from the University of Virginia, where she studied American government and spent nearly all her waking hours working as managing editor of the Cavalier Daily, UVa.’s student newspaper.
Her interest in political reporting was piqued by an internship at Roll Call the summer before her ...
- London Olympics not everyone's cup of tea
- Obama hits road to push jobs plan
- Obama calls for the end of 'political circus' on economy, seeks stimulus plan for jobs
- Brennan: Al Qaeda is 'organization in distress'
- Hoffa's words about labor's importance brushed off
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Malaysia Airlines says plane on route to Beijing missing
- Soldier who hid to avoid saluting the flag to be punished in secret; Army won't release details
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again