Democratic Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal began with a 40 percent lead in this race over first time candidate Linda McMahon, who won a fairly contentious Republican primary by beating Peter Schiff and Rob Simmons. Now, b
y all measures, Blumenthal's lead is within the margin of error. Most reputable political analysts have labeled this race for retiring Senator Chris Dodd's seat a "toss-up." Ignore that sentence; it was written two weeks ago. Blumenthal has a fairly safe lead outside the margin of error.
The race should be closer. For one, Blumenthal is a career politician in an election cycle when voters want to throw out all the bums. Political insiders have panned his television appearances, calling him stiff, dull, and a bit entitled. And though the McMahon campaign did a poor job of feeding the New York Times information about the times when Blumenthal misrepresented his military record (implying that he'd served in Vietnam when he hadn't), footage of his "misstatements" has certainly given Connecticut voters pause about his integrity and candor.
McMahon, who ran World Wrestling Entertainment along with her husband Vince, has self-funded her campaign, accepting contributions of only $100 or less. She has done retail politics well and has crisscrossed the state; as a result, voters genuinely seem to like her.
While Blumenthal has campaigned with national Democrats such as President Obama, McMahon has kept things local. She's deflected questions about whether she would like Sarah Palin's endorsement and has not linked her campaigns to national Tea Party groups, even though she has been endorsed by some. Given the Democratic nature of the state in which she is running, this is perhaps a smart strategy.