The Associated Press projects that Democrat Richard Blumenthal (right, buying a bagel after voting today in Greenwich) has won the race for U.S. Senate, beating out Republican opponent (and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment) Linda McMahon, who reportedly spent at least $50 million of her own money on the election.
Blumenthal, 64, who has served as 23rd Attorney General of Connecticut since 1991, would be filling the seat of retiring Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd. Dodd announced that he would not seek reelection last January, following years of dropping approval ratings. He has held the seat since 1981.
Blumenthal’s projected win improves chances that Democrats will maintain control of the Senate. ABC reports:
Connecticut was one of three crucial races — along with Pennsylvania and West Virginia — that Republicans’ had targeted for victory in order to wrest control of the Senate from the Democrats. In addition to Connecticut, Democrats early on retained their seats in Delaware, Maryland, Vermont and West Virginia.
Blumenthal, the state’s attorney general for two decades, sold himself to voters as someone who has fought special interests on their behalf and will do so again if elected to the U.S. Senate.
He won despite an early controversy in the campaign, when he conceded he had misspoken on several occasions about his military service, saying he had served in Vietnam when he was actually statewide in the Marine Reserve.
In the Connecticut gubernatorial election, Republican candidate Tom Foley is holding an early lead over Democrat Dan Malloy.