Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon scored a knockout victory over Christopher Shays in the GOP primary, besting him 73 percent to 27 percent with a majority of the votes counted.
Appearing in front of a large crowd of friends and supporters as well as volunteers bused in from campaign offices around the state, McMahon reiterated the themes appear to have resonated so resoundingly with Republican primary voters – that she is an outsider running against a career politician, and that her experience as a businesswoman makes her better qualified to bring growth and jobs back to Connecticut.
“This election offers Connecticut voters a clear choice,” McMahon said, hammering the “professional politician” message home as she articulated the differences between herself and U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, who won an equally decisive victory in the Democratic primary.
“He puts his trust in government. I put my trust in you,” McMahon told a crowd, which ranged from Republican office holders, including Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, Norwalk Mayor Richard A. Moccia and Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei, to a 17-member strong contingent from Waterbury’s Rat Pack Motorcycle Club. “We don’t like the way the Democrats are spending our money and giving it to people who don’t work,” explained Rat Pack member Tom Cardinale of Bristol of the group’s support for McMahon.
McMahon urged followers to have a good time “but not too good because tomorrow morning bright and early the real work begins.”
She will kick off her general election bid Wednesday by campaigning with state Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney in his hometown of Fairfield. McKinney, who had previously nominated former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays at the GOP convention in May, said “It is time to unite the Connecticut Republican Party in its shared goal of defeating Congressman Chris Murphy in November.”
Murphy beat his opponent, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, with an equally decisive, 67 percent to 33 percent, victory.
The two candidates wasted no time in their acceptance speeches going after each other.
“Over the past ten years, I’ve spent every ounce of my being fighting for that out of work mom who’s got to get back to work, for that hungry kid who just wants three meals a day, for that homeless veteran who wants a roof over his head,” Murphy said. “And during that same time, Linda McMahon has spent every ounce of her being fighting for profits at the expense of her employees, at the expense of Connecticut jobs, and at the expense of common decency.”
McMahon asked her supporters if they want a career politician making decisions for their families and businesses.
“Do you want a professional politician who believes that Washington knows what is best for your small business?,” McMahon said. “Do you want a career politician who has never worked in a small business, never met a payroll, and never created a job?”
The differences between the two candidates is stark, but their work ethic seems to be similar.
Just like McMahon, Murphy will be on the campaign trail bright and early Wednesday morning. He plans on visiting Proton OnSite in Wallingford as part of his jobs tour.