Smackdown: WWE CEO Jumps Into Connecticut Senate Race

Chris Dodd has been in for a tough reelection challenge for some time, but nobody thought any metal chairs would get thrown. That all changed today when Linda McMahon, co-founder and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, and wife of Vince McMahon, jumped into the cage.

She'll compete in the GOP primary, where former Rep. Rob Simmons is the accepted frontrunner and holds a significant lead over Dodd in head-to-head general-election polls. From McMahon's announcement press release:

"I have spent the past 30 years growing what began as a 13-employee small business into a publicly traded, global entertainment company that now provides over 500 jobs here in Connecticut. I understand what it takes to balance a budget, create jobs and grow the economy," said Linda, a co-founder and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, Corp. (NYSE: WWE). "Washington is out of control, and sadly, Senator Chris Dodd has lost his way and our trust. I can't sit by on the sidelines anymore knowing that I have both the experience and the strength to stand up to special interests and bring badly needed change to Washington."

McMahon plans to largely self-fund, won't take PAC money, and will limit personal contributions to $100 or less. Self-funding candidates can be wildcards, though Connecticut has a pretty big concentration of wealth, so donations there could be at a premium. If she mounts a serious challenge to Simmons, she could force him to spend a significant portion of his war chest, and ultimately help Dodd.

While WWE is certainly the most eye-grabbing bullet-point on her resume, McMahon boasts a record of civic activity that includes roles on the Make-A-Wish Foundation Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees of Sacred Heart University, spearheading a WWE literacy campaign in conjunction with the American Library Association, and a seat on the Connecticut state Board of Education.

Her entry also raises some peripheral questions: will she show up at Democratic rallies, walk out of a tunnel and talk smack? Will Greenwich native Triple H endorse her? What does Jesse Ventura think of all this?

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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