Linda McMahon wins GOP convention endorsement in CT for Senate

posted at 10:27 am on May 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Connecticut Republicans endorsed Linda McMahon for the nomination to run against Richard Blumenthal in the race to replace Chris Dodd in the US Senate, at their convention yesterday in Hartford.  Does that mean the race is set?  Not according to Rob Simmons, the former Congressman who had led the polling until earlier this year for the nomination.  Simmons pledged to keep fighting until the primary, when all of the state’s Republican voters will select the eventual nominee:

Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon won her party’s endorsement Friday night in the first round of ballots, defeating early frontrunner and longtime Connecticut GOP insider, former Rep. Rob Simmons.

Simmons, however, pledged to stay in the Aug. 10 primary despite telling the press throughout the race, and as recently as Wednesday, that he would drop out of the race if he didn’t recieve the party’s nod at the convention.

McMahon’s win and Simmons’ announcement set Republicans up for a contentious primary this summer, just days after a damaging New York Times report about the presumed Democratic nominee Richard Blumenthal misrepresenting his record of military service appeared to aid Republican hopes of claiming the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D).

McMahon received 737 votes, Simmons received 632 votes and businessman Peter Schiff had 44 votes after the first round of ballots. According to state party convention rules, a candidate must receive over 50 percent to receive the party’s endorsement and McMahon had almost 52 percent of the vote.

Some readers from straight primary or straight convention states may be confused about the process in CT, which is similar to Minnesota’s process. Some states only hold primaries to nominate candidates, and some others only hold nominating conventions. A few states have both conventions and primaries; the conventions produce the endorsement of the parties, and the primary only matters if challengers arise to run against the endorsed candidate. That happens frequently with the DFL in Minnesota, where the endorsed candidate often loses the primary, although the Republicans tend to unite in this state after the convention — which is one of the reasons the DFL hasn’t won a gubernatorial election since 1986 here.

Did Simmons pledge to stay out of the primary if he didn’t win the endorsement? On Thursday, the day before the convention, I spoke to Simmons on TEMS, and he seemed determined to fight all the way through to the primary. With Schiff apparently committing to a primary fight, it makes sense for Simmons to stay in as well. Had he won the endorsement, Simmons told me on Thursday that he’d have to conduct a primary campaign and that no one appeared willing to retreat. That comes about 12 minutes into this interview:

We’ll try to get McMahon this week, too.

Simmons started off the race as a party establishment candidate, and initially scored well against Chris Dodd. When Dodd exited the race, Blumenthal swamped the field with easy double-digit leads for months. Simmons eased off the gas a bit while McMahon poured millions of her own money into the race. She took credit for the damning exposure of Blumenthal’s serial fabulism about his military service that appeared this week in the New York Times, with her campaign taking credit in an e-mail blast by saying, “This is what comes of $16 million, a crack opposition research operation and an opponent who, in the words of the president Blumenthal worked for on a draft deferment, who gave them the sword.” Party activists, who had issues with Simmons’ voting record, gave McMahon the nomination on the first ballot.

The primary comes in mid-August, which leaves Republicans with just two months to unite against the Democratic nominee. If Blumenthal stays in the race, that may be plenty of time to dismantle him after the multiple instances of his claims to service in Vietnam keep coming to light. If Democrats are wise, they’d find a way to get Blumenthal out of the way now in order to build up the new candidate while Republicans beat up each other. They only have until Tuesday to make that decision.

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Comment pages: 1 2

I just love the Aryans. “We need people who have run a business, blah blah blah.” Now, here we have Linda freakin’ McMahon and you’re still complaining.

Narutoboy on May 22, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Narutoboy on May 22, 2010 at 4:40 PM

As you prove on a regular basis all things aren’t equal.

Cindy Munford on May 22, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Neuterboy on May 22, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Someone made a wise choice.

jdkchem on May 22, 2010 at 5:04 PM

As you prove on a regular basis all things aren’t equal.

Cindy Munford on May 22, 2010 at 4:48 PM

And what does that mean, Aryan?

Narutoboy on May 22, 2010 at 5:28 PM

I don’t recall reading about any WWE wrestlers dying in the ring and if they did, is this really this lady’s “fault?”

Jenfidel on May 22, 2010 at 12:34 PM

No, it’s not true. It’s very rare for a wrestler to die IN THE RIGHT. I can only recall one instance: Owen Hart. The rest that have died, died because of their drug addictions. Nothing to do with the business itself.

Narutoboy on May 22, 2010 at 5:31 PM

*that should say IN THE RING

Narutoboy on May 22, 2010 at 5:31 PM

And what does that mean, Aryan?

Narutoboy on May 22, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Why are you talking about Persians?

fiatboomer on May 22, 2010 at 5:44 PM

Schiff ftw…. sigh.

ebrawer on May 22, 2010 at 6:22 PM

“Simmons? From the ovens of Simon? I met your father once in a steel cage match. I wish you coulda seen your old man… weepin’ like a woman after my patented piledriver. Yeah, your dad remembers me. Oooh, yeah!”

“Yeah, but he whooped up on you pretty good in the Texas deathmatch!”

“Huh? He snuck up behind me with a foreign object. He should have been disqualified!”

“Hey, if the ref didn’t see it, it didn’t happen!”

Red Cloud on May 22, 2010 at 7:43 PM

My 2 cents: If Blumenthal is still the Dems choice, I think Simmons would be the better choice because of the stark difference in their “veteran” position. McMahon has no charisma. She’s riding her money and the status it’s given her with the country-club Republicans in the convention. Don’t think she would be a crowd pleaser if CT had a good Tea Party network.

Bob in VA on May 22, 2010 at 11:23 AM

I’m with you on this one. Simmons, as a true veteran, is a better candidate to exploit Blumenthal’s lying about his service (dur)in(g) Vietnam than a woman who made her money on staged and fake “wrestling” bouts. Simmons has also been a reliable national security vote during his three terms in the House, whereas no one really knows how McMahon would vote in the Senate. She has been sending out repeated mailings about Simmons being a RINO, but seeing how the convention was decided by only 7% of the delegates, it’s worth the trouble for Simmons to let the GOP voters decide which is the best candidate, although Simmons is likely to be buried by McMahon’s money.

Steve Z on May 22, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Sometimes you hold your nose and vote. Six years in the long haul is not bad. If McMahon is a bummer six and out.Way better than a Dem dynasty to carry on for chris,ted and guys like client #9.

Col.John Wm. Reed on May 22, 2010 at 9:33 PM

Linda McMahon? Seriously?! Someday I hope “conservatives” (or Tea Partiers, or whatever they wish to call themselves) get the gumption to actually vote on principle and not blindly for a party who couldn’t care any less about them or their views. Here you’ve got a guy like Peter Schiff, who actually has some clue as to what the Constitution says, and folks are looking towards the former CEO of a pro-wrestling company? Then you’ve got a faker running for the Dems. Goodness, what’s going on back home?
Then again, I guess with the President endorsing the NWO, it only makes sense to bring on McMahon to defeat this creation of her former adversary, the WCW. If this wasn’t so serious, it’d actually be pretty funny.

Send_Me on May 22, 2010 at 11:20 PM

So how many of you people b*tching about Linda McMahon have ever taken a small business and turned it into a publically traded internationally known corporation?

I thought so.

I bet she doesn’t think profit is a bad thing.

Sometimes, as a conservative, it’s hard to read some of the comments here because you guys are never happy about anything.

Pcoop on May 23, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Pcoop on May 23, 2010 at 11:27 AM

You’ll be alright. It’s so much better to be positive and get caught flatfooted by the press. /

Cindy Munford on May 23, 2010 at 12:39 PM

If the choice comes down to Blumenthal or Mcmahon on election day I won’t be voting. That isn’t a choice…that’s exactly what is wrong with the party system today.

Rocks on May 23, 2010 at 2:35 PM

It’s going to be a messy primary, and if McMahon is still in afterwards, a messy, messy general election.

I was at the Convention, and it was … interesting. At least here in CT, for each round of voting they poll each town delegation in alphabetical order within district, starting this year with the 3rd, then 4th, 5th, 1st, and lastly 2nd, and then give each town, called in the same order, a chance to announce any switches. Which allows folks who have realized that their candidate doesn’t have a chance to change their vote. Schiff came out of the first part with less than the 15% which would have given him the right to call a primary. And for some reason, half his folks switched to McMahon, and then as the hours dragged on (we didn’t even start the vote till almost 9pm), Simmons voters began to switch too. I truly believe that if they had stood firm, Simmons would have had more votes than McMahon. The problem was that if enough of Schiff’s voters had stayed firm too, no-one would have had the 50%+1 to get the nomination, and we would have had to have a second round of voting. Which wouldn’t have started till about 11:30.

Schiff was, at least for me, a pretty much unknown quantity. I got a number of mailings from Simmons, enough from McMahon to heat a large house for a day or two, and maybe one item from Schiff. I believe that his strategy was simply to try to get the 15% in one of the convention voting rounds which would automatically allow him to demand a primary, and my area of the state wasn’t the part he was focusing on. As it is he’ll have to collect enough signatures, and in this state I don’t believe it’s a small number. I am willing to be one of them though.

I backed Simmons, and even if I had voted for Schiff, as a delegate in the 2nd district, I would have been switching to Simmons in the end anyway. In the primary, I don’t know yet. Lots of research, lots of campaigning to go. Come the general election, I don’t know whether I’ll be voting for a candidate or against Blumenthal.

LibraryGryffon on May 23, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Nice gag Send_me with the NWO wrestling reference. Likening McMahon to the defunct WCW isnt the greatest analogy though as the NWO was always more popular compared to the establishment WCW

PunditFight on May 24, 2010 at 12:46 AM

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