U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy is sure of one thing as he runs for the U.S. Senate -- if he runs against Linda McMahon, he will be outspent, big time.
"She's already spent more on TV ads this year than I spent in my entire campaign in 2010," Congressman Murphy, the three-term Democrat representing the 5th Congressional District, said July 3 while meeting with the editorial board of The Spectrum and The News-Times.
Congressman Murphy is the party-endorsed candidate, and will face former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz in an Aug. 14 primary. He is favored to win that race.
Ms. McMahon, the Greenwich businesswoman who made her fortune helping her husband, Vince McMahon, run World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., is likewise favored to defeat former 4th District U.S. Rep. Chris Shays in an Aug. 14 primary for the Republican nomination.
Her campaign said July 3 Ms. McMahon would not meet with editorial boards from any state newspaper before the primary.
She established her reputation for using millions of her own money on a political campaign in 2010, when she coughed up $50 million in an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, losing to then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat.
Congressman Murphy said he knows he lacks the name recognition Sen. Blumenthal had in the state.
"I can't beat (Ms. McMahon's) TV commercials," he said. "I've got to beat her with people on the ground."
The congressman said he plans to use his record in the 5th District as his strongest argument for getting elected to the U.S. Senate.
When Candlewood Lake residents objected to a shoreline management plan approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Congressman Murphy said he got FERC to hold a hearing on the plan, then reverse its decision.
"It was an unprecedented victory for people," he said.
The congressman also said his success in getting apartments for area homeless veterans and in reaching a compromise on the construction of a U.S. Army Reserve center on Wooster Heights Road in Danbury show his ability to solve problems at the local level.
He said he believes the federal government can step in to help state and local leaders as well as businesses. Ms. McMahon, he said, "is blind" to that federal responsibility.
Funding for medical research, education and infrastructure repair would shrink if GOP budgets she favors are passed, Congressman Murphy said.
"That's a fundamental difference between us," he said.
An outspoken proponent of health care reform, Congressman Murphy said he was pleased by the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision, upholding the Affordable Care Act. He said polls show the ACA has increased in popularity with the American public since the court's decision.
That will continue, Congressman Murphy said, as more provisions of the act take effect over the next two years, and people realize its benefits.
Yet, he said, if the GOP were to win the White House, as well as majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress, "all bets are off."
"Health care will be just one part of a long list of projects that will be on the chopping block," Congressman Murphy concluded.