Running as a down-ballot Republican in a deep blue state has its challenges, but Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon might have found a last-minute solution: Pretend you're not a Republican! In the closing days of the 2012 election, McMahon's campaign has been running TV ads featuring Obama voters who say they will support her as well. She has also been distributing handouts urging voters to pick Barack Obama for president and then vote for her on the Independent Party line. This leaflet showing the ideal combination of candidates was spotted on Election Day, and these door hangers were also found over the weekend in some minority-heavy neighborhoods. Both carry disclaimers saying they were paid for by the McMahon campaign.
McMahon—who ran in and won the Republican primary (twice!)—has also scrubbed all mentions of the party from her official campaign website. The words "Republican" and "Mitt Romney" do not appear anywhere on it, even though her spokesperson is still telling people she's backing the Republican nominee. After earning the endorsement of the state's Independent Party in September, she will be on the ballot on both lines. (Her opponent, Democrat Chris Murphy, is also on the Working Families Party line.)
It's one thing to remind Democrats and Independents that they are allowed to vote for a president from one party and a senator from another, but it's pretty usual for that senator to actively endorse that other party's candidate on a split ticket. (In the spirit of bipartisanship, of course. McMahon's pitch is that Obama will win anyway, so she will work with him in D.C.) It's especially unusual when that same president is running ads on behalf of your opponent.
This is what's known in pro wrestling parlance as a "heel turn," a term that the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment knows very well. That's when a wrestler who is normally a "good guy" suddenly becomes the villain (or "heel") at a particularly opportune moment. The only thing that's missing is a steel chair to the back of her tag team partner's head.
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