Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, who attempted to win a Connecticut Senate seat in 2010, only to see her mostly self-financed campaign founder against eventual winner Democrat Richard Blumenthal, is back to take another crack at the upper chamber. This time she's competing for the seat of outgoing Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman against Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy, who currently represents Connecticut’s 5th District.
McMahon's ties to the WWE proved to be controversial in 2010, with her opponents in both the GOP primary and the general election making hay with the more outre aspects of professional wrestling. Those controversies have returned in the 2012 race, as HuffPost's John Celock reported:
Connecticut Democrats are doubling down on their criticism of Republican U.S. Senate nominee Linda McMahon's tenure as chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, posting explicit footage produced by the company online.
The state party posted a video clip Wednesday of two female wrestlers who engage in a sexual act in the ring, then are thrown around by men. The video, added to Daily Motion, comes after WWE complained that the party violated copyright laws when it posted another WWE clip on Vimeo earlier this week.
Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo told The Huffington Post that the party is using the videos to highlight McMahon's time at the WWE, which is owned by the McMahon family. She said since the Republican is using her personal wealth to fund her campaign, the party wants to showcase how she obtained the money.
"They made their money through sex, violence and demeaning women," DiNardo told HuffPost. "This was presented to children."
A Democratic super PAC, Progress Connecticut, took the matter one step further, highlighting the WWE wrestlers who have died in an ad that refers to McMahon as a "job killer."
Nevertheless, McMahon's second outing is going a lot better than her first. It certainly doesn't help Chris Murphy that he comes off as hopelessly bland. It also hardly helps that he has a history of financial difficulties and attendant controversies, the most significant one being that he appears to have been the recipient of a sweetheart loan deal. As The Wall Street Journal reported:
The trouble for the Democrat started earlier this month when the Hartford Courant reported that back in 2007, Chase Home Finance started foreclosure proceedings against Mr. Murphy for nonpayment of his mortgage. The campaign responded to the revelation by saying that he had missed "a couple of mortgage payments" and that as soon as he knew about it, he had straightened things out.
According to the Courant, Mr. Murphy also had a second mortgage with Webster Bank, which is headquartered in his district. In 2008 it lent him more money on that second mortgage at the competitive rate of 4.99%. Most banks at that time were stiffening their lending requirements, and the Chase Home Finance foreclosure proceedings, though never finalized, would have most likely damaged his credit rating.
Why Mr. Murphy was treated differently is not clear. But he was a member of the House Financial Services Committee, and Courant columnist Kevin Rennie has reported that he "had received contributions from Webster Bank's political action committee at various times in 2008." Mr. Rennie also reported that "Murphy had done work for Webster Bank as a lawyer; it was one of two clients he listed on his financial disclosures as having paid him more than $5,000 in 2005 and 2006." In 2008, Mr. Murphy voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and Webster Bank received $400 million from TARP in 2009.
Nevertheless, Murphy may get by on Connecticut's tendency to put Democrats into the Senate. As of this writing, the HuffPost Pollster model has him leading by a margin of 49.2 percent to 43.0 percent. It should be noted that as recently as one month ago, this race was a dead heat, but McMahon has received little good news from recent polling.
The Center for Responsive Politics has a list of the key contributors to each campaign.