Murphy overcomes McMahon’s millions

Published on November 11, 2012 by

Republican candidate Linda McMahon spent close to $50 million in her quest to become Connecticut’s first female U.S. senator.

But she fell short of winning a victory over Democrat Chris Murphy, who collected 710,000 votes (or 55 percent), while McMahon won 605,000 (or 44 percent) of the total vote.

Photo of Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy (Contributed Photo)

Many say the fight for the Senate seat vacated by Joe Lieberman was the fiercest in years. Republican candidate Linda McMahon, a multimillionaire and former owner of a wrestling company, spent close to $43 million of her own money on the race, almost matching the $50 million she spent on her 2009 Senate campaign against former Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

A considerable amount of the money spent by McMahon was on people. In some cases, her campaign paid workers up to $10 an hour to canvas neighborhoods.

McMahon aggressively attacked Murphy for being absent from more than 80 percent of his congressional committee meetings during the financial crash almost five years ago. She added that while he was absent from those meetings, he earned a salary of $180,000. She documented that Murphy took advantage of low-interest loan rates from a bank that benefited from the crisis.

On the other hand, Murphy accused McMahon of declaring bankruptcy on her company and profiting from it.

The race attracted national attention because the outcome could have affected control of the Senate.

Close to $10 million in independent expenditures was spent in the Connecticut race. Experts say that amount is the highest number ever spent in New England, as well as New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

A Quinnipiac University poll taken a week before the election showed Murphy ahead by 6 percentage points. Other polls show the race was closer.

Murphy’s campaign got help from labor unions and the Working Families Party, which cross-endorsed him.

Both candidates spent a large amount of cash on advertising with Connecticut radio stations and publications, including the Hispanic media, such as radio stations Radio Cumbre and Radio Amor, and the La Voz Hispana and El Sol newspapers.

Although many Hispanic personalities endorsed Murphy and many business generated good profits from the campaign, they did not advocate for a forum in Spanish.