McMahon, Murphy Win Conn. Senate Primaries

The fall campaign to fill retiring Senator Joe Lieberman’s seat is officially on in Connecticut. 

Linda McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment executive, won the Republican primary, while U.S. Congressman Chris Murphy won the Democratic primary.

The candidates were already busy criticizing one another’s background during their respective victory speeches.

Speaking to a crowd at her victory party Tuesday night, McMahon said politicians like Murphy made the mess in Washington, and she said voters can’t keep sending them back to clean it up.

“He’s been there six years, and what do we have to show for it?” she asked the crowd, who yelled “nothing!” in reply. “More spending, more debt and higher unemployment,” she added.

In his victory speech, Murphy acknowledged that McMahon is going to outspend him in the race, but added with strong Democratic support, he can repeat Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal's victory over McMahon two years ago.

“The coalition of regular hardworking middle class folks who made this resounding 2-1 victory possible tonight will guarantee that Linda McMahon will not buy this election this fall.”

To become the Democratic candidate, Murphy defeated Connecticut’s former Secretary of the State, Susan Bysiewicz. Bysiewicz’s campaign ran into trouble when she acknowledged that a criticism of Murphy she made in a TV ad was inaccurate, but still refused to pull the ad.

McMahon easily defeated former U.S. Congressman Chris Shays in the Republican primary. Shays had hoped his political experience would be enough to overcome the influence of McMahon’s money.  She has been a frequent presence on TV, spending nearly $12 million so far, compared to just over $1 million spent by Shays. McMahon spent $50 million two years ago in a losing campaign against Blumenthal.

A win in November would be significant for either party. Lieberman has held the senate seat for more than 20 years, and the senator’s been an Independent since 2006.