The mood of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s campaign turned to disappointment early Tuesday night as guests and volunteers learned that exit polls projected Democratic candidate Richard Blumenthal the winner.
McMahon’s press secretary Jodi Latina said the campaign remained optimistic, but realistic.
“Linda is a rock,” she said shortly before 10 p.m. “But people around her are starting to say she needs to start taking a look at plan B. We’re just hunkered down and waiting for the results.”
Latina said no matter what, McMahon wants guests to enjoy the party. McMahon’s campaign coordinated a dinner and live music at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. The band announced before 9 p.m., “No matter what happens, just make sure you have fun tonight.”
McMahon’s senior staffers kept to the Marriot Hotel across the street as the party began. Guests and volunteers continued to support McMahon despite a rumor buzzing that Blumenthal was the projected winner.
“I support Linda 110 percent, no matter if she wins or loses,” said Kara Kutler of Norwich. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Blumenthal won because, well, this is Connecticut and he’s a popular guy.”
Some volunteers and guests discussed the varying levels of support from women for McMahon throughout the evening.
Wendy Gavaghan of Norwalk felt McMahon’s potential loss came down to petty relationships between women with other women.
“Women always seem to turn on each other,” she said. “It’s a mistrust and jealousy issue. I also think there’s a level of submission involved — that men are innately better than women.”
Republican Janet Peckinpaugh, who is running to unseat U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney in the 2nd Congressional District, reflected a similar sentiment at McMahon’s rally on Monday at the University of Connecticut.
“What’s hard is women are harder on other women because we have higher standards,” she said. “But we’re both seeing a strong female movement within our campaigns.” Other McMahon volunteers felt the concern centered on accusations of violence against women associated with World Wrestling Entertainment, to which McMahon previously served as CEO. “I think some of women’s negativity comes from the WWE and that it’s a misogynistic organization,” said Nicole Wronski, a McMahon volunteer.
She said despite the claims, she saw women fully support McMahon’s campaign and vision while wavering more on Blumenthal’s campaign.
“I haven’t seen any women who are super pro-Blumenthal,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of partisan Blumenthal supporters who are more afraid to deviate from a set agenda rather than excited about voting for the man.”
Jennifer Zambrano of Branford volunteered for McMahon and also dealt with some hesitancy from women, particularly an older generation of women.
“In taking phone calls, it seems like older women are most hesitant about her,” she said. “It might be a fear of the unknown or a fear of capability. It’s unfortunate more older women aren’t on board for the change.”