Will she or won't she? McMahon mulls another Senate bid

Linda McMahon is not fading quietly into the electoral woodwork.

Despite spending about $50 million on a failed U.S. Senate campaign last year, culminating in a loss by more than 10 percent to Democrat Richard Blumenthal, McMahon lately has been making a series of public appearances that some observers feel are a prelude to launching a bid for the state's open Senate seat in 2012.

While the former WWE executive has been guarded when asked about her political ambitions, the Republican pointedly said in a statement last week that running for the Senate again "remains an option."

McMahon was a guest speaker last week at a gathering of Our Connecticut Grand Young Party in Fairfield and steps out in public again this week as a panelist at a Westport forum Thursday on the topic, "The Art of the Sale," sponsored by the group, Women In Power.

At the Fairfield event, McMahon reflected on last year's election and the energy of the campaign, but made a point of saying that while some may have come expecting her to make an announcement, she had no plans to do so that night.

In a statement released after U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman announced last week that he would no seek re-election next year, McMahon said, "Sen. Lieberman deserves our respect and appreciation for bringing a strong, independent and principled voice to Washington. While running for the U.S. Senate in 2012 remains an option for me, I will spend the next few months focusing on how I can best serve the people of Connecticut."

But Professor Gary L. Rose, chairman of the Department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, thinks McMahon's mind may already be made up.

"I would say that all signs are pointing toward another run for the U.S. Senate," Rose said. "Her post-election televised address and appearances at various forums suggest a movement toward another campaign." He said the Connecticut GOP has "embraced her as one of the party's rising stars," leaving him very surprised if she does not run again next year.

In 2012, Rose said, McMahon won't have to worry about Lieberman taking a hefty share of the Republican vote as he did in 2006.

Joining McMahon on the Women In Power panel will be Dottie Herman, chief executive officer of Prudential/Douglas Elliman Real Estate, and Walter Levine, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, to discuss how to close deals. The event begins at 6 p.m. in the Westport Women's Club, 44 Imperial Ave. The cost is $15.