McMahon 'leaning' toward 2012 Senate run [Connecticut Post, Bridgeport]
(Connecticut Post (Bridgeport) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 19--Linda McMahon's post-election hiatus from the political circuit is proving to be anything but, with the former World Wrestling Entertainment matriarch putting out feelers from Hartford to her hometown of Greenwich about a 2012 U.S. Senate run.
"I'm leaning in that direction," McMahon, 62, told Greenwich Time Friday afternoon. "I'm seriously considering another run, but I haven't made up my mind yet."
McMahon met Friday morning with Jim Campbell, Greenwich's Republican Town Committee chairman, to discuss the race.
The night before that, the 2010 GOP Senate nominee was in the capital city for the annual meeting of the MetroHartford Alliance.
McMahon made a cameo the previous day at the capitol itself, where Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy unveiled his deficit reduction plan, including a slew of controversial new taxes.
"I think she's doing what anybody would do," said Christopher Healy, the state GOP chairman. "I think she's been evaluating what the campaign was about, what was good, what was bad. I think that's appropriate for anyone running for statewide office next year. You've got to start early."
In the 2010 Senate race, McMahon came up 11 points short against longtime Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, despite spending $50 million of her wrestling fortune on the race.
"I'm getting a lot of calls, a lot of encouragement from people around the state," McMahon said of running again. "I enjoyed my campaign."
McMahon's foes turned the bitter contest into a referendum on the professional wrestling industry, one that Democrats said will be hard for her to overcome if there is a next time.
"I think she runs, and, if she runs, her money, I'm sure, makes her a formidable candidate within the Republican primary," said Daniel Kelly, executive director of state Democratic Party.
"But if she gets to the general (election), she's the same Linda McMahon, and she has the same failed record of laying off employees and paying herself millions, the same record of steroid abuse and degradation of women in the WWE and she spent nearly 50 million in one of the most Republican years ever and came up short."
McMahon, who polled weakly among female voters, declined to say what she would do differently if she jumps into the race for the seat of retiring incumbent Joe Lieberman.
"If I decide to run, then we'll talk about those things," said McMahon, who has retained Hartford public relations firm Sullivan and LeShane to field media inquiries, but said she hasn't done any hiring for any kind of exploratory campaign.
The former chief executive officer of WWE did make it clear that her days at the Stamford-based wrestling empire are done.
"I have no plans to return to WWE," McMahon said.
McMahon is scheduled to attend a rally Saturday in Stamford for Republican Robert Kolenberg, who is running against Democrat Carlo Leone in a special election to fill the 27th District seat previously held by Andrew McDonald, Malloy's new general counsel.
"I think she would like to run again," said state Rep. Alfred Camillo, R-151st District. "She's doing the right thing by going around and seeing if there's support for her, which I think there is."
Campbell, a former Republican State Central Committee member who now heads the Greenwich GOP, wouldn't divulge much about his conversation Friday with McMahon.
"I think she would be a strong candidate," Campbell said. "We discussed the political scene, and I'll think I'll leave it at that."
Campbell wouldn't say what advice, if any, he offered to McMahon during the meeting, the location of which he was reluctant to share.
"I'm not sure that's appropriate," Campbell said. "We met here in Greenwich. Oh, fine, we had a cup of coffee at Versailles."
Democrats would welcome an encore performance from McMahon, who is married to wrestling showman Vince McMahon.
"If you look at 2012, we expect more Democrats to turn out because it's a presidential election, and any of the candidates, prospective or announced on the Democratic side, we're very confident that they would be successful against McMahon in the general election," Kelly said.
McMahon declined to handicap the race when asked if it would be winnable for Republicans.
"I'll just be, again, evaluating all of those issues before I decide whether to get back in," McMahon said.
Staff writer Neil Vigdor can be reached at email@example.com or at 203-625-4436.
To see more of the Connecticut Post, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.connpost.com/.
Copyright (c) 2011, Connecticut Post, Bridgeport
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit www.mctinfoservices.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 866-280-5210 (outside the United States, call +1 312-222-4544)
[ Back To TMCnet.com's Homepage ]