UPDATED: Storrs – The first debate between Republican U.S. Senate candidates Linda McMahon and Christopher Shays since the party's nominating convention is underway at the University of Connecticut.
The hour-long debate, sponsored by the Hartford Courant and Fox CT, is one of two scheduled debates between the GOP candidates before the Aug. 14 primary.
McMahon won the Republican endorsement at last month's convention, receiving just over 60 percent of the delegate vote. Shays, a former 4th Congressional District representative, finished second with 32 percent, or more than enough to qualify for a primary.
A Quinnipiac University poll this month had McMahon with a 29 percentage points lead over Shay. The same poll upended an early narrative in the race that had Shays as the Republican candidate with the best shot at beating Democratic frontrunner U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy.
The new numbers showed Murphy edging McMahon 46 percent to 43 percent in a November Senate election, and defeating Shays 45 percent to 37 percent.