In an increasingly contentious Connecticut Senate primary, Republicans Linda McMahon and Chris Shays are arguing that each is a better fiscal conservative than the other. In a new blog post, the McMahon campaign says Shays, a former congressman, has a similar record on spending and debt as the likely Democratic nominee, three-term congressman Chris Murphy.
"Both Congressmen Chris and Chris have spent their careers fighting for policies that have failed and left millions out of work across the nation, including nearly 150,000 here in Connecticut," the post says. "Our nation’s debt is a staggering $15.6 trillion and the Congressmen’s solution? Just raise the debt limit and continue spending." An accompanying chart notes that both Shays and Murphy voted to "raise the debt ceiling 8 times" and voted for a "$300 billion Bailout of Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac."
The Shays campaign hit back with a statement from spokeswoman Amanda Bergen:
Linda McMahon as CEO of WWE has a long history of story telling. This is no different.
Christopher Shays is a proven budget hawk who has balanced the federal budget for four years, co-sponsored and voted for the Balanced Budget Amendment, voted for tax cuts and has opposed any tax increase since 1991. He championed the 2004 Spending Control Act and was the only one who sounded the alarm on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as early as 2002.
Chris Murphy does the exact opposite. He votes 98% of the time with Nancy Pelosi, who McMahon helped elect speaker with her generous campaign contributions to Rahm Emmanuel and the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee in both 2006 and 2008.
A McMahon commissioned poll released last week showed the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment leading Shays among GOP primary voters by 21 points. But a recent Quinnipiac poll comparing both Republicans to Murphy showed McMahon 15 points behind Murphy, 52 percent to 37 percent, while Murphy led Shays by only 1 point, 41 percent to 40.
McMahon is coming off a general election loss in 2010, when Democrat Richard Blumenthal defeated her to succeed Chris Dodd in the Senate. As New England's only House Republican from 2007 to 2009, Shays lost reelection in 2008 after serving 21 years in Congress. Both are vying to replace retiring independent Democrat Joe Lieberman and will likely face Murphy in November.