It was not the repeat that Republicans were hoping for, but Linda McMahon has again fallen short in her quest for the United States Senate.
Two years after losing to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, McMahon, a Greenwich resident, was defeated Tuesday night by U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy (D-5th District). Many polls had shown a tight race going into Election Day, but ultimately it was a blowout for Murphy, a three-term congressman, who, as of Wednesday morning, had a margin of victory of 55.3% to 43% with 88.4% of Connecticut precincts reporting. This could well end up giving Murphy a larger margin of victory than Mr. Blumenthal had against McMahon two years ago.
McMahon did run well in Darien. According to results from the town, McMahon got 5,938 votes to Murphy’s 3,325.
The race was notable for its tone, with attack ads from both candidates filling the airwaves, and McMahon came under heavy criticism in the final days for attempting to woo independent and Democratic voters by allying herself with President Barack Obama instead of with Republican Mitt Romney, to whom she was a campaign contributor. And after this race and her 2010 run, McMahon owns an unfortunate distinction, having reportedly spent the most personal money on runs for federal office without winning.
At her campaign headquarters in Stamford, McMahon was surrounded by loyal supporters and family, including her husband, Vince, who had flown from taping World Wrestling Entertainment television in England to be with her on election night.
“You have been there and I love each and every one of you,” McMahon said in her concession speech. “From the bottom of my heart I thank all of you. So there is no way I can individually thank everyone, from the folks on this stage to family, friends, and relatives. I have had great supporters all through the campaign. I would really rather have won, but we gave it an incredibly good fight.”
The sheer volume and tone of McMahon’s ads have come under scrutiny, but she said on Tuesday that this was “a campaign I will look back on with no regrets, not a stone unturned.”
“I would not have done anything differently,” McMahon said, thanking her staff and her volunteers.
She added she was not giving up on the issues she championed in her campaign, like making Connecticut a more business-friendly state to spur job growth.
“We can only support [Murphy] and the other members of our delegation serving us in Washington,” McMahon said. “It is our responsibility to charge them, to challenge them to make sure they hear what we say because they work for us. And if we let them forget, shame on us. We need to voice our concerns. I am happy to be helpful in that regard.
It was quite a different scene at Murphy headquarters, where the future senator told his cheering supporters, “Tonight we proved that what matters most in life is the measure of your ideas, the measure of your determination, the measure of your friends, not the measure of your wallet.”
Murphy congratulated McMahon on a “hard-fought race” and said he was “proud to stand here as your United States senator.” He once again cited his mother growing up in public housing in New Britain and how she believed that if she worked hard and played by the rules her community would “hand her a toolbox of opportunity so that she could not just succeed but become great.”
“What this race was about is about the idea that the promise will be real for generations to come,” Murphy said. “This race was about the idea that in the most powerful, most affluent country in the world, health care shouldn’t be something you get if you can afford it. It should be a human right. It was about the idea that government can help to create good jobs, the idea that manufacturing is not dead, the idea that we should start helping companies that aren’t outsourcing jobs but are helping to create jobs in this country, the idea that it is time to start investing in the people of this country and the idea that it’s time to bring our men and women home from Afghanistan.”
Murphy said his win showed that “those ideas cannot be washed away by millions of dollars or pushed away by slick ads.”
“Ideas matter, and tonight we know that it was those ideas that won this election,” Murphy said.
Murphy was introduced by some big Democrats in Connecticut, including his soon-to-be Senate colleague, Blumenthal who called Murphy “his partner in fighting to put Connecticut back to work” by creating jobs and fostering economic growth.
“I am proud that Chris Murphy, with his integrity and his intellect and his great energy, will be a tremendous partner in fighting for Connecticut in the Senate of the United States,” Blumenthal said.
Gov. Dannel Malloy was also on hand and offered a statement of support for Murphy as soon as his victory was confirmed.
“Good for Chris Murphy, good for Connecticut,” Malloy said. “Tonight’s victory by Chris shows that we have elections in Connecticut, not auctions. Chris is a smart, decent, thoughtful guy, and he’s exactly the right kind of person to represent the people of Connecticut in the U.S. Senate. He knows that although we’ve begun to turn things around in Connecticut, choices that are made in Washington, D.C., impact all of us. I’m confident that when it comes time to make those choices in the U.S. Senate, Chris will make the right ones for Connecticut.”