Connecticut politics

McMahon Open to Running Again; One Day Ad Blitz set for Tuesday

In her first television interview since election night, Republican Linda McMahon gave signals that she may run for political office again, possibly in 2012 for the senate seat currently held by independent Joe Lieberman.   

During  a taping of “Face the State with Dennis House,” the former WWE CEO said she wouldn’t rule out a future run.     “I’m not taking anything off the table,” she said, declining to be specific.

We in the media love a good race, and this three way contest would have  journalists salivating:   Ted Kennedy, Junior for the Democrats;  McMahon for the Republicans; and Lieberman the independent.  

McMahon told me she wasn’t sure if Lieberman would seek a fifth term, and has heard about Kennedy as a potential candidate, and admits the Branford resident  would be formidable opponent.       It’s unclear if Kennedy would want to run, but if he did he might clear the field of Democrats.   State party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo once called Kennedy a “dream candidate” for ’12, and just today a well placed Democratic operative also suggested his name to me.   I wrote more in-depth about Kennedy and his prospects for 2012, earlier this year.

Kennedy and McMahon tangled briefly during the campaign, when Kennedy called on McMahon to stop using footage of his late uncle, President John Kennedy, in her commercials.

As for other candidates, most people expect Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz to run.    Despite the awful year she’s had, she remains very popular among Democrats.     Remember, back in January a Quinnipiac University poll showed Bysiewicz with a big  over Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont in the race for Governor.   In fact,  her strong showing in a 2009 Q.U.  poll, may have played a role in  Governor Rell’s decision not to see re-election.    That poll showed Bysiewicz just a handful of points behind the state’s most popular politician.  Dropping out of the race to run for Attorney General is undoubtedly the biggest mistake of campaign 2010. 

Other candidates for the senate could come from the congressional delegation.     Some expect Jim Himes to consider it, after his  strong re-election preceded by a CT Capitol Report poll predicting his defeat.   His opposition to Nancy Pelosi’s election as Minority Leader could make him more appealing to moderates and independents.      Himes’ appearance with President Obama at Harbor Yard this year could also earn him a nudge from the White House to run. 

Nobody will be surprised if Chris Murphy runs for the senate, he has hinted at it for some time.       Joe Courtney hasn’t hinted at it, but has just as much of a reason to run as Murphy, so who knows.   Murphy seems to be more ambitious than Himes and Courtney and I’m told by a Democratic insider that could translate into being a better campaigner, although that person also felt Himes has a better profile.

As for Republicans,  former Ambassador Tom Foley might want to run, maybe former Congressman Rob Simmons, and I’ve also heard of at least one member of the General Assembly eyeing Lieberman’s seat. 

As for McMahon, she told me she is analyzing  the results and will then make a decision on her future sometime next year.    “We are doing polling to see if we can identify which voting groups didn’t turn out.”      We also talked about her belief that the media cut Richard Blumenthal a pass:  “an Attorney General should be held to a higher standard.”  

Speaking of Blumenthal, I asked McMahon if she was disappointed when Senator Chris Dodd dropped out.  At the time polls showed her ahead of Dodd, and never again in the campaign would McMahon lead a poll.    “It would have been an easier race against Dodd, but I expected it would be Dick Blumenthal we would run against,” McMahon said.   

While McMahon was vague about her future, it is clear she is optimistic about her chances.  She did better than any Republican in a Connecticut senate race since Lowell Weicker, and got more votes than Lamont got in 2006, more than Lieberman, too.    McMahon also told me her campaign “energized” the Republican party, and points to her party’s gains in the General Assembly.   Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie said McMahon has built up plenty of goodwill in the party, and that could aid her in ’12.

Look for McMahon in your living rooms next week in a new television spot thanking those who voted for her.   The ads will run Tuesday.  

See you Sunday morning at 11 for “Face the State” right here on WFSB Channel 3.

19 replies »

  1. McMahon would have done more good for the GOP if she had donated $50 million to the elderly poor to help with their utility bills, especially heating. Perhaps she might have curried some positive favor from Connecticut’s women.


  2. Isn’t the Kennedy name for the Democrats right there with Bush for the Republicans? I can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s one name I’m hoping will just go away. At least Jeb Bush had the decency to recognize that the country has had enough of his family. Ted should take the hint and explain to the rest of his family that running for political office is not a birthright for crying out loud.


  3. Really, time to exit stage right… Why the ongoing fascination with a candidate who made herself so unlikeable. At the very least she overplayed her ad buys and her mailings and went too negative too often.


  4. I certainly hope Linda-Power Hungary-Trash-Talker – will stay in the wrestling ring and out of the political ring!


  5. Hoping Bysiewicz will rebound and come back strong — she can take on Lieberman and knock him out of the Senate for good!


  6. @Mitch …Personally I would love to see a Kennedy in office again. At least the Kennedy name means fairness for all Americans not greed and power! The Kennedys have always held strong civic views of America and not Bullys like the Bushs are!


  7. Linda McMahon took on the wealthiest, most popular and most powerful Democratic politician in the state in 2010 and nearly won. Plus, the same issues that drew her into the race this year will remain in 2012, and may be more pronounced. I expect to see run again.


  8. Nearly won? Well, give or take 7 or 8 points. But anyone who was around in 2000 knows that nearly won doesn’t count for much.

    Honestly though, I think it was McMahon’s to win and she just turned so many people off with her oversaturation. I think that motivated a lot of people to vote for Blumenthal.

    As for the Kennedy idea, I’m with Sharon. As for Mitch and his birthright comment, you can leave it up to the voters, right? If they feel he’s nothing more than a name, it’s up to them not to elect him.


  9. I don’t know if Ted Kennedy wants to spoil his life, but many of us in CT would love to have him represent our interests. I would volunteer in a heartbeat.


  10. Expect hubby Vince and the WWE to bring in a “Nazi” wrestler and maybe kill a few Jews in 2011. Gotta get the base fired up.

    And gotta have something about which to issue an apology in 2012.


  11. OMG, more garbage commercials to fill the airwaves! Enough is enough. Instead of protesting airport scanners, I think the TV stations should protest these new commercials and not air them. You lost, give it up!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s