Conn. GOP Attacks WWE's Linda McMahon

| Mon Oct. 12, 2009 3:47 PM EDT

Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon caught heat from her Republican challengers in Connecticut this weekend, a sign that she has emerged as a formidable opponent to take over embattled Sen. Chris Dodd's seat next fall. Her prominent GOP opponents, including former state Rep. Rob Simmons and state Sen. Sam Caligiuri slammed the $35,000 that McMahon and her husband Vince have donated to Democrats in recent years. A recent report by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that the McMahons have given large donations to prominent Democrats, including Rahm Emanuel and Mark Warner, since 1989.

"I think it's very unusual [for a Republican to contribute to a Democrat]. These are big numbers. These are big dollars," said Simmons, the race's current front runner. But attacking McMahon's bi-partisan past is a risky move, considering that Connecticut is predominantly Democratic and many state Republicans supported democrat-turned-independent Joe Lieberman over his Republican opponent in 2006. Moreover, since McMahon is campaigning on an anti-establishment platform, her past contributions could be helpful if she makes it to the general election next fall.

Caligiuri took his attacks on McMahon even further, claiming that the past donations placed "expediency over principle" and indicate that she already represents what is wrong with Washington. "If McMahon is already part of the problem," he said, "it is hard to believe she can ever become part of the solution."

UPDATE: Jodi Latina, the director of new media for the McMahon campaign, posted a response to the GOP attacks on McMahon's blog Tuesday. "As is often the case when a political outsider begins shaking up the system, the career political insiders are fighting for their survival. That's no surprise. Their careers depend on protecting the status quo," she writes. "The career political insiders started going this negative so early because they're obviously terrified of Linda's candidacy."

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