By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon is returning to the political ring and making a second run for U.S. Senate in Connecticut.

In a statement released Monday, the Republican said she plans to kick off her campaign Tuesday in Southington at a business that designs and manufactures custom-built coil processing machines. Repeating a message from her failed 2010 race, McMahon said voters need to send someone to Washington who understands the needs of entrepreneurs and job creators.

“You don’t fix problems in Washington by sending back the same people who created them,” McMahon said. “I’m a job creator. I’m not a politician.”

The former WWE chief executive ran against former Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in 2010 in a campaign that marked her first experience as a candidate for elective office. McMahon ultimately lost after spending about $50 million of her own money on the race, spending much of it on television advertising and mailers.

Blumenthal defeated McMahon, who won the GOP nomination in a three-way primary, by more than a 10 percent margin.

As she did in 2010, she faces a likely Republican primary. Former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays has said he plans to officially announce his candidacy next month. Hartford Attorney Brian K. Hill has already announced his candidacy and Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy is exploring a run for the party’s endorsement. All are hoping to fill the seat now held by independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, who has said he will not seek a fifth term.

Several Democrats have already announced plans to run, including U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, and state Rep. William Tong.

McMahon, 62, is best known for her time as CEO of WWE, the professional wrestling empire based in Stamford. She stepped down from the job in the fall of 2009 and has not returned to the company, which is run by her husband, Vince McMahon.

“It was a wonderful career, I thoroughly loved it. It will always be in my blood, always be a part of me, that’s for sure,” Linda McMahon told The Associated Press in November, after her loss to Blumenthal. “But stepping back into an administrative role would just not be the right thing for me now.”

McMahon said at the time that she wouldn’t have to spend anywhere near $50 million, primarily because she has become so well-known in the state. In recent months, she has been making the rounds, appearing at local Republican events, speaking to various civic groups and working with political consultants.

A Quinnipiac University Poll released last week showed McMahon would defeat Shays in a probable GOP primary, 50 to 35 percent, if it were held today. However, the same survey showed McMahon losing to Murphy and Bysiewicz in a general election.

The telephone survey, conducted Sept. 8-14, had margin of sampling error of 5.4 percentage points among the Republican participants and 2.8 percentage points for all voters surveyed.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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