Very different candidates set sights on Blumenthal 

Republicans had largely written off the Connecticut Senate race when Dick Blumenthal got in and appeared to hold an insurmountable lead. But he now seems vulnerable following reports that he falsely claimed to have served in Vietnam, and Republicans will be taking a fresh look at candidates Rob Simmons and Linda McMahon. A Rasmussen poll earlier this week showed McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, only three points behind Blumenthal (48 percent to 45 percent), while former Caongressman Rob Simmons trailed Blumenthal 50 percent to 39 percent.

While McMahon seems like the stronger candidate based on this poll, the Simmons campaign points out that McMahon has spent $14 million so far, while Simmons has spent less than $2 million. So McMahon may be outperforming Simmons simply because she’s been flooding the airwaves with ads and Simmons hasn’t. In McMahon’s defense, the ability to self-fund would be an advantage in the general election. She’s also been able to gain an edge on Simmons in the primary by attacking his former support of cap and trade and card check — two positions that Simmons has abandoned since the primary campaign began.

As of now, it doesn’t seem like there’s much daylight on the issues between Simmons and McMahon. She has much more money, but she also has the colorful biography of a pro-wrestling magnate that could dog her in Connecticut (much more than it would in, say, states like California or Minnesota that have already elected a body-builder/actor or former pro wrestler to statewide office). McMahon will also have to face questions about her involvement in a professional wrestling steroid scandal (yes, pro wrestlers use steroids, shocking).

Meanwhile, Simmons has been highlighting his actual military service in Vietnam in contrast to Blumenthal.

The question for McMahon is whether she can appear to be a credible general election candidate. A parody ad, showing McMahon getting slapped in the face and kicking a guy in the crotch as part of pro-wrestling theater, is the image she’s fighting against.

This article was originally posted on The Weekly Standard website.

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