But a June 6 Quinnipiac Poll indicated that Connecticut voters aren't necessarily looking for a candidate with Capital Beltway experience. Fifty-four percent of registered voters said they preferred an "outsider" candidate, while 35 percent said they preferred someone with Washington experience.
The same poll, however, showed that more voters — 58 percent — think Shays has "the right kind of experience to be a U.S. senator from Connecticut," compared with McMahon, who got 46 percent. Posed as a negative, the results were somewhat different: 45 percent said McMahon doesn't have the right kind of experience, while only 18 percent said Shays does not.
Shays' campaign sees that as a weak spot in McMahon's armor. At the debate, Shays went after her record running WWE, bringing up everything from wrestler deaths to how her husband, Vince McMahon, demanded that a female wrestler remove her clothes and bark like a dog on stage during a now-infamous skit.
"Her work, her ownership of WWE, does not qualify her for a second to be the next United States senator," he said. "The question is, who has the experience, what are they going to do when they get elected and how are they going to get it done. And I know how to get it done because I've done it."
Victoria Rametta, a 20-year-old voter from Coventry who attended the debate, said she favors Shays' experience over McMahon's. She said she believes his resume will resonate more with general election voters. She said McMahon, if she becomes the nominee, will lose handily to U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, the endorsed Democratic candidate. Murphy faces a primary challenge from former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.
"It seems as if, to be honest with you, Shays was the outsider in Washington and that's why he was able to get things done," Rametta said, referring to the former congressman's work with Democrats on many issues.
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