Earlier today Linda McMahon, the wife of WWE's majority shareholder Vince McMahon and its former CEO until 2009, finally announced on friendly home turf that she was running for U.S. Senate again in 2012. This move has largely been expected by political and wrestling insiders ever since she lost by almost 12% to Richard Blumenthal in the last Connecticut senate election on November 2nd, 2010. So wrestling fans may be wondering what will be different this time around.
The short answer is that it's highly unlikely that Linda will fare much better in her second attempt. Her speech announcing the bid was what you would expect, composed but lacking in substance, focusing instead on the same rosy narrative of how she went from once being a bankrupt working mother into a job creating global entrepreneur with six grandchildren. Her stance on the issues facing the country remains unchanged, banging on about a balanced budget while promising middle class tax cuts, without detailing how she would plan to cut government spending so drastically that both could be achieved.
So what does Linda plan to do differently? Dave Meltzer provided us with the answer in his August 29th Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Realising that her association with WWE was a huge negative, Linda plans to distance herself from the company as much as possible, which is a really futile exercise, given that her opponents will use any excuse to bring that connection up and there's bound to be plenty of opportunities for them to do so, as wrestlers far too regularly get into the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Recognising that portraying herself as a hard-nosed wrestling business executive turned off female voters last time, she wants to transform that image and become thought of as a warm hearted, benevolent grandmother concerned for the future of her state and its ordinary citizens. That will also be a difficult idea to place in voters' minds, because once again her opponents will be out there to remind everyone that she wasn't quite so kind and generous in her previous occupation. Finally, to avoid the criticism in her last run that she was trying to buy the senate seat by spending a whopping $50 million on her self funded campaign, this time around she's taking campaign contributions. But seriously that's a token gesture, as we all know Linda will still dip into her own pockets to significantly outspend her opponents once again, she just won't have to dip into them so much this time.
What about WWE, how does it effect them? Well, it means that we're in for more of the same too. The product will remain PG-13 rated and continue to be largely inoffensive and uncontroversial. The only difference will be that the McMahon family's neuroses will be on clear display through their television writing and inevitable propaganda efforts whenever they get annoyed by the coverage of WWE by the Connecticut media and Linda's political opponents. So expect more segments on Raw where Triple H tries to dispel the "myth" on behalf of his father-in-law that they both have a "weird bodybuilder fetish/fantasy about what a main-event caliber superstar needs to look like."
What does recent polling suggest that the likely result will be? Local Republicans still enamoured with her substantial wealth are expected to give her the nod and choose her to be their candidate again in the 2012 election, as Linda is currently leading her opponent in the primary Chris Shays by a 50% to 35%. However, this choice seems foolish as current polling suggests that Linda would lose the general election comfortably against either of the two main Democrat candidates she could face, Chris Murphy or Susan Bysiewicz (who you may remember as the official who tried to get WWE T-shirts banned from polling stations), while Shays would be expected to give both of them a much tougher race.
After the jump, you can find links to some of our past coverage of Linda McMahon's political career and how it has effected WWE in the past.