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Linda Marie Edwards-McMahon (born October 4, 1948) has announced her candidacy in the Republican primary race with the intention of challenging for the United States Senate Connecticut seat (currently held by Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd) in 2010. McMahon is the wife of Vince McMahon, with whom she has run the operations of World Wrestling Entertainment since its establishment in 1980, serving as CEO from 1997-2009. She has been a prominent figure in the company in both corporate and on-screen roles. Her children,Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon, also play major roles in the operations of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Linda McMahon frequently speaks at various media and entertainment corporate events, and she has associations with the Connecticut Republican Party. She was appointed by Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell to the Connecticut State Board of Education in 2009. In September 2009, Linda relinquished her duties as CEO to campaign for a position in the United States Senate. In November of 2009, McMahon resigned as a director of World Wrestling Entertainment.

Early life, education and achievements

McMahon grew up as an only child in a small town in North Carolinamarker. She attended East Carolina Universitymarker, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in French and gained certification to teach.

At the age of 13, McMahon met her future husband Vince McMahon (then 16) at church. After dating in high school, they married on August 6, 1966, before she graduated college.

McMahon and her husband Vince have two children — Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon-Levesque — both of them executives within WWE.

Achievements

McMahon became a member of the Board of Trustees of Sacred Heart Universitymarker (Fairfield, Connecticutmarker) in November 2004. She supports many organizations, including the USO, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the Starlight Foundation, and Community Mayors. In 2005, she won appointment to The Make-A-Wish Foundation of America National Advisory Council and received the Arthur M. Sackler Award from the Connecticut Grand Opera and Orchestra for WWE's support of its arts education program. McMahon is also responsible for the creation of WWE's Get R.E.A.L. educational and literacy programs and WWE's SmackDown! Your Vote! campaign.

On January 29, 2007, Multichannel News named McMahon to its class of "Wonder Women" for 2007. The award recognized her outstanding contributions to the cable and telecommunications industries. In May 2007, she appeared as the keynote speaker at the Girl Scout Council of Southwestern Connecticut’s Women of Achievement Leadership Breakfast. As a former Girl Scout herself, she encouraged all Girl Scouts to improve their communities.

World Wrestling Entertainment

McMahon has served since 1999 on the Board of Directors of WWE (known until 2002 as the World Wrestling Federation or WWF). In addition she has extensive involvement with the charitable work of WWE. In May 1993, McMahon became the President of the WWF, a job she kept until May 2000; she become the CEO of the company in May 1997.

Corporate

Linda McMahon was made President of WWF in 1993 during the federal investigation of WWF steroid use. The trial revealed that Linda had knowingly fired the WWF's staff doctor, George Zahorian, in 1991 because of mounting attention by the government. Prosecutor Sean O'Shea produced a memo written by Linda to Pat Patterson, an employee, ordering him to fire the doctor due to fear of an imminent investigation by the Justice Department.

In January 2009, the WWE announced it was laying off 10% of its staff, cutting approximately 60 jobs .Forbes Magazine reported that McMahon earned in excess of $508,000 as CEO of WWE in 2008.

Under McMahon's tenure, the WWE became one of the largest recipients of special tax credits for film and TV production granted by the State of Connecticut. .

SmackDown! Your Vote campaign

Linda McMahon initiated World Wrestling Entertainment's non-partisan voter-registration campaign, "Smackdown! Your Vote", in August 2000. The campaign specifically targeted the 18-to-30 year-old voter demographic, making use of online marketing, public service announcements, and youth voting partnerships. The campaign, which registered 150,000 new voters during the 2000 election, was started in coalition with MTV's Choose or Lose, Project Vote Smart, and Youth Vote 2000. As of the 2008 election, it listed fourteen different partners in its voter registration efforts.

Ironically, McMahon herself admitted she did not vote in the 2006 Connecticut general election, which featured highly competitive races for Senate, Governor and U.S. Congress.

On-screen roles

1999–2001

McMahon first debuted on WWF TV during the Corporate Ministry storyline, on the May 3, 1999, episode of Raw to confront her son Shane's recent actions in the company and towards his father and sister. She soon feuded with Vince during the summer of 1999 after it emerged that Vince was the one behind daughter Stephanie's abduction.

In 2000, McMahon forced Triple H to defend the WWF Championship at WrestleMania 2000 in a "Fatal Four-Way Elimination match". She also re-instated Mick Foley (whom Triple H had forced into retirement) and acted as his manager at WrestleMania. At Backlash (April 30, 2000), she led referee Earl Hebner to ringside during a match between Triple H and The Rock, ultimately costing Triple H the WWF Championship.

In June 2000 Mick Foley returned to the WWF as Commissioner—with the blessing of McMahon. At the same time, Vince McMahon went on a hiatus, claiming that he had realized why McMahon was opposing him—she wanted another baby. Dubbing himself the "genetic jackhammer," Vince left for several months. He later returned and demanded a divorce. The following week, Vince was informed that McMahon had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown. With McMahon in a sanatorium, the Board of Directors appointed Vince as CEO on December 18, allowing him to fire Foley. With McMahon apparently comatose as a result of her breakdown and the sedatives that Vince had administered to her, Vince began having a very public affair with Trish Stratus.

As a result of the affair, Shane challenged Vince to a street-fight at WrestleMania X-Seven. Vince faced Shane with Foley as special guest referee. Stephanie and Linda were at ringside, and as Stephanie actively helped Vince in the match, Linda sat in her wheelchair, completely comatose. At the end of the match, however, Linda stood up, apparently no longer sedated, and kicked Vince in the groin, allowing Shane to defeat him. A week later, Linda resumed her duties as CEO and asked Vince for a divorce. She harassed Vince over the next few months, forcing Vince's chosen champion Steve Austin to defend the WWF Championship and supporting Shane and World Championship Wrestling, which he had just purchased. Vince and Linda would reconcile, however, in October 2001 when they realized that The Alliance of WCW and ECW (purchased by Stephanie) would attempt to destroy the WWF.

2002–2004

On March 18, 2002, Linda announced the division of WWE into two brands ("Raw" and "SmackDown!") as a result of the rivalry between Vince and Ric Flair, who prior to the Invasion storyline had bought Shane's and Stephanie's shares in WWE to equal the power of Vince. On April 28, 2003, Linda confronted "Raw" General Manager Eric Bischoff after he booked Trish Stratus in a match with himself, where Stratus would be forced to sleep with Bischoff if she lost. To balance the presence of Bischoff, Linda appointed Steve Austin as the co-General Manager of Raw.

Linda accompanied her daughter Stephanie to ringside for her October 19, 2003 "I Quit" match at No Mercy. When Vince choked Stephanie with a pipe, Linda threw a towel into the ring, conceding defeat. On December 1, 2003, Linda once again re-instated Mick Foley, this time appointing him as an "Outside Consultant" to "Raw" in order to monitor Bischoff. Foley eventually resigned from his post during a heated feud with Randy Orton.

2005–present

Linda's on-screen character turned heel for the first time on the October 10, 2005 episode of "Raw" when she "fired" commentator Jim Ross and delivered a low blow to him.

Linda did not return to WWE television until WrestleMania 22, where she was seen in a backstage promo with the rest of the McMahons, who had joined Vince in a "prayer" (where they hoped Vince would defeat Shawn Michaels).

Linda returned to "Raw" on August 13, 2007 and announced that she had kayfabe kicked Vince out of her home due to his summons for an illegitimate child. The storyline featured Vince claiming that his family was "all about the money". On the taped episode of Raw that aired on September 3, 2007, Linda returned with Stephanie and Shane to confront Vince on Raw. On August 24, 2009, she appeared in front of a live crowd after RAW went off air to celebrate Vince's 64th birthday.

Political career

Connecticut Board of Education

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell appointed McMahon to the Connecticut Board of Education in 2009. The State Senate nominated her by a vote of 34-1 and the House by 96-45.

2010 U.S. Senate election

In August 2009, a spokesperson for the WWE stated that McMahon had considered running as a Republican candidate in the 2010 Connecticut Senate race for the seat then held by Democrat Christopher Dodd. Linda McMahon announced her candidacy on the morning of September 16, 2009. Her husband formally assumed her duties as CEO effective immediately.

Linda ran on a platform of government transparency, lower taxes for small businesses, and consistently promotes smaller government. She criticized the current Senate for passing large bills in a perfunctory manner, such as the $800 billion Stimulus package and the upcoming Senate Healthcare bill.

In Linda's first televised political ad, "Perseverance", she was criticized for downplaying her career in WWE, as she made only quick mention of her husband, stating, Thirty years ago, my husband and I started our business. It wasn’t always easy but we grew it into a publicly traded company that’s creating jobs here in Connecticut today. Detractors also criticized her ad because it did not mention the name of her company, World Wrestling Entertainment. An Internet parody of the ad, produced by her campaign, was launched on YouTube almost immediately, adding footage of Linda in on-screen wrestling activities.

On October 11, her Republican rivals, Simmons and Caligiuri, sharply criticized her political donations to Democratic candidates. Her campaign contributions, dating back to 1990, included donations to Republicans and Democrats, including donations to Sen. Joe Lieberman in 2006, and Rahm Emanuel in 2008. They were especially contentious about her donations to Rahm Emanuel's Political Action Committee, as he is vilified by the national Republican Party for organizing the tremendous Democratic shift in the House in 2006, and, most notably, for masterminding Barack Obama's Presidential win. McMahon defended the Emanuel contributions saying she was a personal friend of Emanuel's brother, Hollywoodmarker entertainment agent Ari Emanuel. The McMahon campaign also countered the history of her donations, stating that since 1980, she has contributed twice as much to Republicans — $70,700 to Republicans, $35,100 to Democrats, and $1,000 to independents. , although one commentator noted that most of the Republican donations had occurred in the past year. McMahon also donated to the Republican Majority for Choice in 2006, a Political Action Committee favoring abortion rights and the 'Big Tent' appeal of the GOP. This record has led conservative activists to label McMahon a RINO.

Sen. Dodd mocked her history of campaign donations to Donations, saying to reporters, "I just wish she had helped me somewhere along the line." The McMahon campaign quipped back, as Ed Patru stated on Thursday, October 22, "Linda actually is planning to help Dodd. She's going to help him retire.

On October 11, 2009, a column in the New London Day speculated that McMahon would falter in her efforts to woo Connecticut Republicans, and would commence a third party run for the Senate, noting that WWE board member Lowell Weicker had taken a similar path to the Connecticut governorship in 1990

McMahon opened her campaign with an unprecedented media blitz, running advertisements on network television in both the New York City media market and across Connecticut. She also has launched statewide radio ads, full-page ads in local newspapers, sent out mailing advertisements, and has posted Web ads targeting Connecticut voters.

On October 23, Linda aired a new campaign ad, entitled "Pat on the Back", which criticized Christopher Dodd for colluding with President Obama during passage of the 2008 stimulus package. The advertisement's air date coincided with a day of visit from Obama to the Dodd campaign team.The Journal-Inquirer, however, pointed out that while McMahon's TV ads complained about corporate bailouts, the WWE had received large special tax credits from the State of Connecticut

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