Senate candidates battle for Connecticut’s women

Republican Linda McMahon and Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy are vying for the women’s vote in the race for Connecticut’s next U.S. senator.

On Saturday, Linda McMahon held a women’s rally where Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins came in to stump for her, as did popular former Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell. At the rally, McMahon focused on her personal story, as opposed to her business identity, which dominated her 2010 campaign.

“I’ve walked in your shoes. I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m a grandmother. I’m also a daughter. I know what it takes to have that guilt feeling when you leave your child at home that morning with a fever. Or you can’t make opening night of the school play, because you’ve been called away to do something else,” McMahon said, according to the Connecticut Mirror.

On Monday, Murphy went up with an ad entitled “McMahon Demeans Women,” which, unsurprisingly, featured five Connecticut women decrying McMahon for being bad for women.

“As CEO, Linda McMahon demeaned women to make millions in her business,” said the first woman, referring to McMahon’s tenure running World Wrestling Entertainment.

“She’s targeting children with violent images and toys,” said the second, again referring to WWE.

“Now, she’s trying to hide that,” said the third woman.

“As senator, McMahon would support a Republican proposal that would allow my employer to deny me coverage for contraception,” said a fourth. “She will deny coverage for mammograms.”

“Siding with the most extreme Republicans to deny woman health care,” said the fifth.

“CEO Linda McMahon was never on our side, and she won’t be as senator,” the narrator concluded.

Women are a coveted demographic.

In 2010, McMahon lost the women’s vote by 15 points — something her campaign has been working hard to overcome in this election cycle. Then, the campaign emphasized McMahon’s qualifications as a business executive. This time around, the goal is to focus some more on the personal aspect, and to just “let Linda be Linda,” according to one person associated with the campaign, because “when people meet Linda McMahon, they really, really like her.”

As early as 2011, they started holding coffees, where McMahon would sit down with several women and have an off-the-record conversations in someone’s living room, often talking about her life story.

The efforts appear to have been moderately successful. Though Murphy still leads among women, polls show the lead to be narrow. A Quinnipiac University poll from late August found McMahon trailing Murphy by only four points among women, 50-46. A UConn/Hartford Courant poll from last week had Murphy leading by a mere three points among women.