In a race that was once considered a sure win for Democrats, Connecticut GOP Senate candidate Linda McMahon, a former professional wrestling executive, is airing her toughest attacks yet against her opponent, popular state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Her latest ad slams Blumenthal for old misstatements about his Vietnam-era military service, for which Blumenthal apologized months ago. "If he lied about Vietnam," McMahon's ad says, "what else is he lying about?" Combined with her recent uptick in the polls, could McMahon's offensive help her pull off a once unthinkable victory? (Watch highlights from the debate)
McMahon's chances are still slim: "The race may be closer than it was six months ago," says Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling, but Blumenthal remains ahead in our poll 53 to 41 — "a pretty solid position going into the last four weeks of the campaign." It's worth noting that he has the second highest favorability rating among Democratic Senate contenders while McMahon has "worse favorability numbers" than every GOP candidate except Tea Partiers Joe Miller, Sharron Angle, and Christine O'Donnell.
"Blumenthal up 12"
Voter anger gives outsiders like McMahon a chance: The momentum in this race goes "entirely in one direction" — McMahon's, says Allahpundit at Hot Air. A Quinnipiac Poll shows her within three points of Blumenthal and, if Republican voters who are "spooked by her WWE pedigree" start taking her seriously, that gap could easily close. Blue Connecticut is so mad at Democrats that it really might dump its attorney general for McMahon — when Obama promised change, "he wasn't kidding."
"The Senate's in play: Blumenthal 49, McMahon 46 in Connecticut"
Whoever wins, this race shows Democrats are in trouble: This race demonstrates how "toxic the national political environment has become for Democrats," says John McCormack in The Weekly Standard. In his first debate with McMahon on Monday, Blumenthal tried to distance himself from his party by saying he would have voted against the stimulus and the TARP bailouts — "a somewhat implausible claim [for] an establishment Democrat," but indicative of a broader trend.
"Blumenthal and McMahon debate in Connecticut"