But Democrats say that now that Murphy is up on the air, the polls are about to change.
“I fundamentally believe that at the end of the day, when all of these reporters go back and write the story of what happened, it’s going to essentially be that Linda McMahon spent a whole lot of money, had a really good August, and ended up losing the race by eight to 10 points,” said Democratic consultant Ed Peavy, who worked for one of Murphy’s primary opponents but is no longer involved in the race.
Democrats describe McMahon as a “flawed candidate” — something that makes their playbook very simple. In the words of a member of the Murphy campaign, they just have to “remind voters of who she really is.”
“She’s the same person that voters rejected almost two years ago,” the staffer said.
The major point of attack is McMahon’s tenure at WWE.
The Murphy campaign began running an ad on Wednesday that attacks McMahon for taking nearly $10 million in tax credits the same year that WWE laid off 10 percent of its employees.
“The actions she’s taken are a problem for people,” Peavy said. “Taking home the money while laying off the staff is something people recoil at.”
“Linda McMahon is running a campaign based on lies and discredited attacks solely designed to distract from her past. Once voters are reminded of what she did as a CEO — including firing 10 percent of her employees, outsourcing jobs, and denying healthcare and disability benefits to workers who risked their lives for her profits – they’ll remember why she’s wrong for Connecticut,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee press secretary Shripal Shah.
Finally, Democrats say, there is the simple fact that Connecticut is a generally blue state.
“We could run a perfect race and still lose,” acknowledged the McMahon staffer. “So we have that disadvantage to start.”
Grayson cautioned that this cycle, “Connecticut also seems to be more favorable to Republicans. … The polls showing a closer than expected race between Obama and Romney are a sign that something else is going on in this race. … Maybe it’s the lack of popularity of the governor. Maybe it’s the accumulate attacks on wealthy and Wall Street when the state is the home to so many finance businesses and finance employees.”
But Peavy pointed out that McMahon “underperformed” in 2010 — a year when Republicans overperformed across the country. And in presidential election years, Connecticut historically goes even more Democratic than it does in off-year elections. Assuming a similar split to 2008, when Obama won the state with 60 percent of the vote, McMahon would have to get about 10 percent of Connecticut voters voting for her and Obama on the same ticket, Peavy noted — a difficult feat.
In the end, Peavy said, “I think everyone’s gonna look back and say, Linda McMahon had a very good August.”