Linda McMahon Can’t Buy Connecticut’s Senate Seat, Loses to Chris Murphy

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Nov. 6 2012 9:00 PM

Linda McMahon Can’t Buy Connecticut’s Senate Seat

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Not even New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could get Linda McMahon to the Senate

Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

As Linda McMahon goes down to defeat in her second Senate run in Connecticut, her loss is a testament to the good sense of voters. For a second time, they refused to be bought by the amazing flow of money she poured into her self-financed campaign. The total spent comes to $100 million.

McMahon was a better candidate this time around: She had her 30-second TV ad message down pat. But that doesn’t mean she was an actual good candidate. Democrat Chris Murphy beat her soundly at the debates because when she talked policy, she could never go more than an inch deep.

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McMahon ended her campaign on a note of trickster desperation: Stressing her pro-choice credentials, never mind that she pledged to vote for President Romney’s Supreme Court choices; put out a sample Obama-McMahon ballot in which she listed herself as an independent rather than a Republican; clothed supporters in T-shirts that read “I Support Obama and McMahon” that mimicked the shirts of the SEIU, which of course backed Obama and Murphy. She also hired what the New Haven Independent called “a paid army of African-American polls workers” for New Haven, Bridgeport, and Hartford—never mind that some of them weren’t voting for her.

I am not a fan of Joe Lieberman, the Democratic senator McMahon once bid to replace. My secret fear was that he would pass along some bad ju-ju and somehow make her win. Instead we have the decent and responsible Chris Murphy in office come January. Maybe, though, we should hope that McMahon isn’t done. Just think: If she ran—and lost—a third time, she would be Connecticut’s very own stimulus project every four years. The gift that keeps giving, no matter how many times voters send it back to the store.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

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