Update 10:20 p.m.
Saying it’s her own and her supporters’ job to hold responsible Connecticut’s delegation in Washington, D.C., Greenwich Republican Linda McMahon conceded the U.S. Senate race to Democrat Chris Murphy.
In the second concession speech she’s given in two years, the longtime WWE chief said she had no regrets about an often contentious campaign that drew a national spotlight.
“I don’t think we left a stone unturned,” McMahon told more than 250 supporter and media members gathered in the ballroom at the Stamford Hilton hotel. “I don’t think we would do anything differently in the campaign.”
Vying for the senate seat to be vacated by former Democrat Joe Lieberman, an Independent, McMahon and Murphy ran aggressive campaign ads and lobbed accusations of wrongdoing throughout the final weeks and days of the race.
McMahon said during her speech that she congratulated Murphy and reminded him that he’s accountable.
“I asked him to work hard for the people in our state,” McMahon said.
“It is our responsibility to charge them, to challenge them to make sure they hear what we say and to make sure they are doing what we need because they work for us,” she said to an appreciative crowd. “And if we let them forget that, then shame on us because we need to voice our concerns and we need to say what we need, and I’m looking forward to being helpful in that regard.”
In one light moment during her speech, McMahon—flanked by family and friends, including WWE pro wrestlers—thanked her husband Vince “who stood beside me and behind me all the way through this,” adding: “He’s very shy. He doesn’t want to come out.”
Murphy could not be reached for comment.
In an email to supporters, Murphy said he was thankful and called his campaign “the largest grassroots network of support Connecticut has ever seen.”
“But tonight's result is not the end of the campaign, it's beginning of a conversation I hope to continue with you throughout my time as a United States Senator.”
Update 9 p.m.
The Associated Press has called the contentious U.S. Senate race for the seat vacated by Joe Lieberman for Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Cheshire, over GOP candidate Linda McMahon, according to an article cited in the Connecticut Post.
Tonight's victory by Chris shows that we have elections in Connecticut, not auctions,'' Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement.
Four-term incumbent Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democratic Party, decided not to seek re-election in 2012. Lieberman sat as a Democrat until 2006, when he was defeated by Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary; he then ran as an independent in the general election and he won. He has since caucused with the Democrats as an "Independent Democrat."
Former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Murphy—a 5th District Congressman—competed for the Democratic nomination. McMahon, the 2010 Republican Senate nominee, and former Congressmen Chris Shays competed for the GOP nomination. Murphy and McMahon won their respective primaries on Aug. 14, and faced Libertarian Paul Passarelli.
Update 8 p.m.
The ballroom stage and podium (pictured) at the Stamford Hilton where Greenwich resident and longtime WWE CEO Linda McMahon will either claim or concede victory in a hotly contested U.S. Senate race is being swarmed by dozens of media members as the 8 p.m. poll-closing time approaches.
Arriving here at the headquarters just now are Douglas Eklund, an Oxford resident who is moving to Stamford, and Cathy Bertasso, a city resident.
Bertasso, 69, a registered Democrat and retired human resources professional, said she is supporting McMahon because the GOP candidate is a job creator.
“She is just a generous supporter and she’s a small business woman,” Bertasso told Patch. “She knows how to create jobs and I think she would be an asset. She’s not political. She doesn’t have to do this.”
Eklund, 70, a retired SNET technician and former member of the Oxford RTC, said McMahon could help turn around the economy.
“She could help around these events that have gotten us into a situation with enormous deficit and excessive spending,” Eklund said.
Update 4 p.m.
Hours before polls close on one of Connecticut’s most widely anticipated races, supporters for the two major party candidates for lame duck U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman’s seat say they’re eager and optimistic.
Mary Howard, a registered Republican from Stamford, broke away from the phones at her city’s GOP headquarters to say she sees in party candidate Linda McMahon—longtime CEO of the WWE, based just one mile away—many of the same qualities she sees in presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
“She is such a good businessperson and has created so many jobs here in Connecticut, which [Democrat Chris] Murphy has not done,” said Howard, a Manhasset, N.Y. native and former New Canaan resident who formerly worked as a flight attendant.
The McMahon-Murphy race has drawn a national spotlight as one of a handful in Congress where Democrats and Republicans have been neck-and-neck in much of the polling since primaries this summer. The race also has drawn attention and criticism for what’s been described as the personal, vitriolic nature of many campaign ads.
Murphy, a congressman in the Fifth District, received a vote today from 75-year-old Barbara Spitzer of Stamford, a native of the Chicago area and former Greenwich resident who volunteered with the city’s Democratic party during the campaign season.
For Spitzer, a psychologist, Murphy stands for women in important ways.
“I think he wants women to have choice and equal pay, and I think he stands for the environment and that’s so important, especially after this storm,” Spitzer.
Even as a separate storm approaches for Wednesday, the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy could be felt in Stamford and elsewhere. Nearly 5,000 customers of Connecticut Light and Power, the state’s major utility, remained without power as of 3:30 p.m.—down from a high of more than 600,000 one week ago.
According to Stamford Democratic City Committee Chairman John Mallozzi, overall turnout in Stamford is projected to hit about 78 percent today—down from about 81 percent four years ago.
Meanwhile, McMahon cast her vote Tuesday afternoon at North Street School in Greenwich. Speaking to the media afterwards, McMahon said she felt she had gotten her message across to constituents.
“It was my intention from the beginning to let the people of Connecticut know that I had a plan to put them back to work, to jumpstart our economy and I think that message has been resonating loud and clear,” she said.
In a video released on YouTube Tuesday (attached), Murphy—who is casting his vote Tuesday afternoon in Cheshire—urged his supporters to cast their ballots.
“This election is going to be close so make sure you reserve enough time today to get out to the polls,” he said.
The libertarian candidate for the senate seat is Paul Passarelli of Norwalk.
On his campaign website, Passarrelli paints himself as a Washington outsider who will bring fresh perspective to the senate seat.
“It bears repeating, that I will go to Washington for the State of Connecticut, the Constitution of the Unites States, and the Republic that is the Unites States of America; not for the Democrats, not for the GOP, or even the Libertarians, the Objectivists, the Greens, etc… regardless of whether he earns their support or their vilification,” the campaign website says.
For months, Senate hopefuls Linda McMahon and Chris Murphy have traded barbs over the airwaves and during several debates. Voters will soon decide which of the candidates will replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman.
The most recent poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling and released on Nov. 2, says that Murphy has a 52-43 advantage.
McMahon, former CEO of WWE and a 2010 candidate for U.S. Senate, has been running a self-funded campaign focused on the economy. Chris Murphy, a congressman in the Fifth District, has sought to differentiate himself from McMahon on women’s issues.
Paul Passarelli, of Norwalk, is running on the Libertarian ticket.