Hartford, Conn Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon won the Republican party endorsement for U.S. Senate in Connecticut on Friday and vowed to “lay the smackdown” on state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who captured the Democratic nomination despite recent criticism for misstating his military record.
Blumenthal, who served in the Marine Reserve during Vietnam, easily won the endorsement at his party’s convention earlier Friday to fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Chris Dodd.
“I have made mistakes. I regret them. And I have taken responsibility,” Blumenthal said. “But this campaign must be about the people of Connecticut.”
McMahon, who has acknowledged providing information on Blumenthal’s misstatements to the media, pulled away from former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons when several dozen delegates at the Republican convention switched their votes before the first ballot became final.
Many delegates said they believe McMahon, who has vowed to spend $50 million of her own money in the campaign, has enough resources to beat the popular Blumenthal.
“I venture to say we’re going to lay the smackdown on him come November,” McMahon said, borrowing a wrestling term.
But before McMahon takes on Blumenthal in the fall, she has to get by Simmons, a Vietnam war veteran with two Bronze Stars. He received enough votes Friday to force an August primary.
“The McMahon campaign has invested over $16 million in this campaign, and I’ve spent nothing to take my case to the voters, and believe a case remains to be made,” said Simmons, who said he still has about $1 million in contributions.
Fairfield County money manger Peter Schiff, who lost many of his delegates to McMahon, may try to petition his way onto the primary ballot, supporters said.
Despite the national attention that Blumenthal’s misstatements have attracted, Democrats said they could not ignore his 26 years of political service — six years as a state lawmaker and 20 as Connecticut’s omnipresent attorney general — to the state.