Chris Murphy believes the race for the U.S. Senate should be about the issues voters care about, rather than his personal finances and tardy tax payments. But his Republican opponent Linda McMahon believes he needs to answer some tough questions about the rate he got on a home equity line of credit after his brush with foreclosure.
In order to make sure the questions about his personal finances weren’t lost on the media, the McMahon campaign sent volunteers to Bushnell Park carrying signs which called upon Murphy to release his personal loan documents.
But Murphy believes he’s answered all the questions about his personal finances and his relationship with Webster Bank, which gave him the loan back in 2008 while he was a member of the House Financial Services Committee. As for the tax payments, Murphy eventually paid them, and his rent, too. But he said it’s hypocritical of McMahon to call him out on tardy tax payments when she also forgot to make tax payments on a condo in Stamford.
The Courant published a story Tuesday reporting that McMahon has been late paying her property taxes on her Greenwich home four times since 1984. The news comes after the Associated Press reported that Mr. and Mrs. McMahon were six weeks late this month paying taxes on a Stamford condo.
“Here’s my challenge to Linda McMahon: Now that your hypocrisy has been laid bare, will you join me in making the campaign about anything, about something that matters to the people of Connecticut?” Murphy said.
“The hypocrisy in Congressman Murphy calling for an issues-focused campaign is staggering,” Corry Bliss, McMahon’s campaign manager shot back, Tuesday in a statement.
“Chris Murphy clearly doesn’t want to acknowledge it, but the fact that he is a corrupt, career politician in full cover-up mode has become one of the biggest issues of this campaign,” Bliss said. “For three weeks, Congressman Murphy has ducked reporters and refused to give any straight answers about his swirling ethics problems. Now, he is blatantly ignoring multiple calls to release his documents.”
Murphy, who is also a three-term Congressman, said voters deserve to know the difference between him and McMahon on taxes. He said he doesn’t support another round of tax cuts for millionaires. McMahon supports keeping the Bush tax cuts in place and her economic plan released at her last press conference in March assumes the Bush tax cuts will stay in place.
The McMahon campaign alleged that Murphy is the one being hypocritical because he’s been in elected for more than 5,000 days and “has failed to release a jobs plan to address the top issue on the minds of Connecticut voters: jobs and the economy.”
“Here’s what voters want: They want an election that’s about them,” Murphy said Tuesday. “They want an election about the issues that matter to them on a daily basis. Taxes, education, health care, war, and peace.”
Murphy said McMahon has not held a press conference in months to take questions from the news media. McMahon’s access to the media was limited from the beginning of her 2012 campaign. Instead of allowing questions after her announcement, her staff scheduled one-on-one interviews with reporters. The strategy may stem from a 2010 press conference that ended abruptly after McMahon refused to rule out reducing the minimum wage.
A much better candidate than in 2010, McMahon has steered clear in this election cycle of big press conferences where reporters can ask questions on a wide range of issues and topics. The last one she held was in March to unveil her economic plan.
“It is frankly no surprise that Linda McMahon is using baseless, despicable, personal attacks against me and my family,” Murphy said. “She is scared to death that this election may actually be focused on my record of fighting for Connecticut’s families and her record of fighting for absolutely no one except for herself.”
He said if the campaign turns back to focus on the issues, “McMahon loses.”
“That’s why she’s going to try and keep the media and the voters focused on personal despicable lies, rather than on the issues,” Murphy said.
State Rep. DebraLee Hovey, a Republican from Monroe, said this past weekend that she believes the McMahon campaign is right to highlight Murphy’s personal financial issues.
“I think it has a lot to do with his moral character,” she said, adding that life is busy and you follow the rules to the best of your ability, but she believes her constituents would not have gotten as favorable a rate as Murphy received.
As for McMahon’s bankruptcy, Hovey said it was 36 years ago.
“The mistakes of our youth can’t be judged overly harsh,” she said. “She’s more than made up for it.”
Murphy disagrees, but in order to keep the spotlight off his personal finances he’s going to need to also keep the focus off her personal finances.
Murphy refused to give one inch on the debate over whether he received a favorable interest rate. He refused to talk about the issue any further with reporters and declined to give out any more information.
“Her campaign said the other day that talking about the issues is a ‘senseless exercise’,” Murphy said. “Well, Linda McMahon’s right about that. For her talking about the issues is a senseless exercise. It’s a prescription for her to lose this campaign. She’s resorted to lies to smears to personal attacks every hour of the day. We’ve seen it before. She did it two years ago to Dick Blumenthal.”
The problem for Murphy, who is neck-and-neck with McMahon in the latest public polling, is that he’s not Blumenthal.
As a three-term congressman from the northwestern portion of the state, Murphy isn’t as well known statewide as Blumenthal. According to the Aug. 28 Quinnipiac University poll, 32 percent didn’t know enough about Murphy to form an opinion about him.