By SUSAN HAIGH
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) â¿¿ Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon on Tuesday was given a second chance to try to win an open U.S. Senate seat, easily besting veteran former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays in a Republican primary.
As in 2010, McMahon will face a well-known figure in Democratic politics, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy.
Murphy is a three-term 5th Congressional District representative and former state legislator. He defeated veteran Democratic politician and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz in the Democratic primary.
With nearly all voting precincts reporting, McMahon led Shays 74 percent to 26 percent, and Murphy led Bysiewicz 67 percent to 33 percent.
Both Murphy and McMahon made it clear in their acceptance speeches that they're gearing up for a potentially bruising fight.
Murphy told a crowd of cheering supporters in New Haven that he has spent the past decade fighting for middle class workers, such as teachers and police officers, and helping struggling familes and businesses. But he said McMahon, the former CEO of the WWE, formerly known as World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., "has spent every ounce of her being fighting for profits at the expense of her workers and at the expense of Connecticut jobs" and "running over people to help herself."
McMahon launched a TV ad during the primary criticizing Murphy and his congressional record. On Tuesday night, she accused him of being a "professional politician who believes that Washington knows best for your small business" and "a career politician who is bought and paid for by special interest groups and lobbyists."
Joined by her daughter and mother, she told her enthusiastic supporters in Stamford that, "Congressman Murphy is burying the American dream" and promised that "we will save the American dream."
Bysiewicz credited her campaign with making the middle class a key issue in the race, one that will continue until November.