More than six years after Jesse Ventura left the governor's office in Minnesota, professional wrestling is attempting a political comeback. Linda McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, has resigned that job, and announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Connecticut.
The incumbent is Christopher Dodd, who has represented the state in Congress since 1975, first in the House, and, since 1981, in the Senate. The 65-year-old Dodd has garnered much publicity recently, not all of it favorable. He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year. The senator uprooted his family, and settled them in Iowa for some months, in the leadup to that state's caucuses. Some in Connecticut criticized that move. Voters tend to realize that a member of either house of Congress must spend a lot of time in Washington. But, for someone whose job was to represent Connecticut in Washington, living in Iowa seemed a bit far afield.
Dodd chairs the Banking Committee, so he has been heavily involved in handling the financial crisis. That has had a net negative effect on his reputation, largely because he has been criticized for rescue plans that have allowed financial institutions to continue to pay bonuses to their employees.
During Ted Kennedy's final illness, Dodd acted as chairman of the Health Committee, so he has also been heavily involved in the health care debate. Senate rules prevent him from permanently chairing both committees, so Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin is Kennedy's permanent replacement as Health chairman.
McMahon, 60, has never sought elective office until now. However, earlier this year, she was appointed to the state's Board of Education by Governor Jodi Rell. McMahon's husband Vince is the public face of WWE, but media reports describe Linda McMahon as the brains of the operation.
Rob Simmons, 66, a former congressman, appears to be the front-runner among other candidates running in the Republican primary. Polls have shown him ahead of Dodd.