Chris Shays may be toast.
It is hard to figure out a path leading to victory for the former congressman in the Aug. 14 Republican Senate primary. Shays simply cannot raise the cash to keep up with the self-financed Linda McMahon. The biggest challenge in these summertime primaries may be simply getting the attention of voters. McMahon has been able to do that with her TV commercials, and it has resulted in a surge in the polls.
As documented by Day columnist David Collins, in Thursday’s debate Shays’ attacks on McMahon about the crudeness of the product in which she made her fortune, professional wrestling, fell flat. Perhaps its because we’ve heard it all before, since this is McMahon’s second straight Senate run. Those who feel McMahon’s ties to WWE disqualify her as Senate material have probably already made up their minds, as have those who don’t see it is any big deal.
The one argument Shays had been clinging to, that he was the Republican who could defeat the likely Democratic nominee, Congressman Chris Murphy, has disintegrated. The most recent Quinnipiac Poll showed McMahon running closer to Murphy, within the poll’s margin of error, than Shays.
Would Shays past experience in Congress make him more effective in the Senate? Almost certainly. And is Shays depth of knowledge on the issues, both on domestic and foreign policy, well superior to that of McMahon? Absolutely.
But when did those things ever decide an election?