Pundits and journalists may feel as though they have provided enough analysis of World Wresting Entertainment to prepare the electorate for Tuesday’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate between former WWE chief Linda McMahon, Rob Simmons, and Peter Schiff.
But have voters actually seen what’s in some of these wrestling programs? The videos described by McMahon as a “soap opera” are just now making their way into the email boxes of Republican women like former East Hartford Mayor Susan Kniep.
“To say I was shocked by the YouTube videos I received is an understatement,” Kniep wrote in a letter to Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy last week.
After describing a video in which McMahon’s husband Vince is screaming at a woman in the ring and telling her to get down on her hands and knees to bark like a dog, Kniep admits, “the video was difficult to watch.”
She said she can understand that McMahon and her supporters defend the degrading antics against women as a “stage show,” but what Kniep can’t understand is how the party of family values can endorse such a candidate.
“What I can’t understand, is why the State Republicans promote Linda McMahan, and by so doing, support these degrading acts against women?” Kniep wrote.
“Taste is a matter left to people of free will,” Healy said. “Linda McMahon has built an international entertainment enterprise, employing hundreds and generating billions in revenue.”
“Some enjoy WWE, some don’t – but the Election is about the reality of a country in need of new direction,” Healy added. “We have two choices – electing a Republican U.S. Senator who believes in the free market, limited government, and opportunity or Dick Blumnethal, who favors a large government model that consumes and directs every aspect of our lives.”
Kniep responded to Healy’s statement by telling him part of the problem with McMahon’s campaign is the lack of transparency.
“The only thing we know about Linda McMahon is what she has chosen to tell us through her orchestrated ads. I suggest the majority of the voters in Connecticut have little to no knowledge of her business from which she has generated billions to fund her campaign. I certainly did not,” Kniep wrote.
Healy, whose wife works for the McMahon campaign, sent back a short response:
“It is up to the Republican voters in Connecticut to decide their nominee on Tuesday. There are three candidates – all good people – who can defeat Dick Blumenthal in the fall,” Healy wrote. “Our only role is to support the winner of Tuesday’s race and we will.”
Simmons, who prior to the convention tried to hammer away at WWE’s product and McMahon’s involvement in creating it, said, “Susan Kniep’s letter expresses many of the same concerns I have been hearing from so many Republican voters throughout the state.”
“Linda McMahon’s promotion of violence against women and abuse of the developmentally disabled to children does not represent the best option for the Republican Party,” Simmons said.
Last week the Associated Press ran an interview with Vince McMahon, who has taken over the reins of the wrestling empire while his wife runs for the U.S. Senate.
“Most of the people have not even seen our show. They don’t even know what this business is about,” McMahon told the AP.
Since July McMahon’s overall favorability rating in the Quinnipiac University poll has hovered around 43 percent, with 37 percent having an unfavorable opinion. Amongst Republican voters her favorability improves to 62 percent, a number that drops slightly to 59 percent for Republican women. About 30 percent of Republican women polled had an unfavorable opinion of McMahon, which puts Kniep in the minority if the poll is correct.