Norwalk, CT: The heated election cycle brings out the big hitters of their respective parties out to stump for their down ticket candidates. Connecticut, that teeny but wealthy state lodged between New York and Rhode Island, gets more than its share of national attention and with less than 40 days before Election Day brought Republican VP candidate Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain, each stumping and fundraising for state Republican contenders.
Linda McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is in her second run at a Senatorial seat, first in 2010 for retiring (CT-D) Senator Chris Dodd and now vying for the seat of retiring (CT-I) Senator Joseph Lieberman, spending a reported total of $66 million of her own money. Current polling shows McMahon in a neck-and-neck race to the finish against Democratic Congressman Christopher Murphy. As a Connecticut resident, you really can't miss the constant bombardment of TV ads both in the CT market as well as in the nearby New York City media market, where most of lower Fairfield County gets coverage.
Senator John McCain joined Candidate for U.S. Senate Linda McMahon for a full day of events including two public rallies, one at the Disabled American Veterans Hall in Danbury, CT and at a second held in the ballroom at the Norwalk Inn & Conference Center in Norwalk, CT to standing ovations. Sure there were the party stalwarts: mayors, selectmen, former (CT 4-R) congressman Christopher Shays who was bested for the Senate seat by McMahon in an August primary and Republican 4th District Congressional hopeful Steve Obsitnik, but there were plenty of Linda fans, and by the introduction by Norwalk's (R) Mayor Richard Moccia the crowd had swelled to almost 300.
Senator McCain started with, "I was with Governor Romney, the next president of the United States." The crowd went Republican wild. He continued that he was honored to be in Connecticut where his father was stationed at the New London Sub Base and then, after a few humorous comments, went into the meat of his stump speech. He is excited that, like Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, he believes Linda knows about jobs because she understands it's not government that creates jobs and that Linda McMahon will be the 51st vote to repeal Obamacare, aka The Affordable Care Act, to the thunder-clapping of the crowd. He also mentioned his visit in Danbury with the Disabled Veterans earlier in the day, the need for a strong defense, and how Obama got us out of Iraq but we left Iraq too soon and it is now unraveling.
McMahon repeated the usual campaign mantra: Her opponent, Congressman Christopher Murphy doesn't have a plan; "it's a work in progress" that he has voted to raise taxes three times; he voted for the $700 billion reduction in Medicare; yada yada... McMahon clearly stated that she would not vote for anything in the budget that reduces Medicare, yet recently it was reported that earlier in the year at a Tea Party town hall, McMahon vowed that there would be a "Sunset Provision" to giving an end date to Social Security.
McMahon continued, saying that she got into the race after looking into the faces of her six little grandchildren and asked herself, "What kind of legacy was I going to leave for them?" She wants to be the first woman senator elected from Connecticut. She may get her wish.
Bumping into many Linda supporters, I spotted two women both wearing "Women for Linda" pink tee shirts. Linda volunteers Toni Cietanno and Joyce Koslowski traveled more than 25 miles to see Senator McCain speak. Joyce, a switchover Republican since Reagan, stated, "This time we are going to win."
Stamford, CT (R) Mayor Michael Pavia said, "This is an exciting day when you have a leading senator and former presidential candidate of national stature visiting." He went on to say that he had seen another side of Ms. McMahon recently, when he walked with Linda at an event, and unlike other candidates who schmooze the crowd at a fast pace, he was amazed that she was so engaging, especially with the young children, giving them as much time as they wanted.
Striking me as an odd sight was Miss Connecticut, Christina Sciongay, in white wearing her white sash, gold sparkly tiara and a Linda button, standing in the crowd is a big Linda supporter who also attended the Danbury event. I guess they don't have to be politically impartial or non-partisan.