Unfortunately for Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, she couldn’t write the ending to this storyline. In the Connecticut Senate race, Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has defeated McMahon, the Republican nominee, in the contest to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd.
With less than 1% or precincts reporting, Blumenthal leads by 62%-36%, and has been projected as the winner by Fox News and NBC News. (Keep in mind that with so few precincts in, the margin is likely to fluctuate considerably throughout the night — the current numbers are not final.)
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Stranger Than Fiction? TPM Casts The 2010 Midterms Movie]
Dodd announced his retirement back in January, when he was dealing with very low approval ratings as a result of a scandal involving a mortgage he received from Countrywide. Democrats immediately recruited Blumenthal, who polls showed was easily leading all Republican candidates, including McMahon.
Blumenthal, however, was revealed to have previously misstated his military service, having falsely said that he had served in Vietnam. McMahon made hay of this and other issues, pitching herself as an outsider and businesswoman, and for a while was catching up in the polls.
However, Blumenthal pulled away again in October, aided by several advantages such as Connecticut’s general Democratic leanings and his long record as Attorney General. The Democrats also relentlessly attacked McMahon, thanks to such issues as WWE performers who have died young and McMahon’s own efforts to distance herself from WWE’s raunchy programming.
By the time the campaign was over, McMahon’s personal favorable ratings were destroyed, with a TPM Poll Average of only 42.5% favorable to 50.3% unfavorable. By contrast, Blumenthal’s TPM Poll Average favorable ratings remained in positive territory at 53.6%-40.9%, Vietnam controversy and all.
Late Update: Watch their speeches here: