NORTH HAVEN – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon rallied her troops around the state Sunday, saying she believes she has the best get-out-the-vote effort in state history.
With 14 field offices, McMahon has volunteers in all corners of the state who were making telephone calls on Sunday. She visited her office on Main Street in Hartford after the Veteran Days parade before heading south to North Haven. Dozens of volunteers, along with state Republican chairman Jerry Labriola and state Sen. Len Fasano, were packed into the main room in North Haven to hear a brief speech by McMahon.
“I think we’ve got, probably, the best ground game that the state has ever seen for an election,” McMahon told Capitol Watch after her speech. “I’m really pleased with the effort we have.”
McMahon could eventually spend as much as $100 million in two elections in 2010 and this year. She said she clearly has a better get-out-the-vote operation than during her defeat two years ago to Democrat Richard Blumenthal by 12 points.
“You learn a little from the first time,” McMahon said when asked to compare the two elections. “I have an incredibly awesome staff. … Now I think the ground game and turning out the vote on Tuesday is going to make the biggest difference in this race. We have an unbelievably well-organized, effective, and efficient team doing it.
“Every single district, we’ve got good field offices, and we’re continuing to call to get the vote out,” McMahon said.
Behind in the Quinnipiac University poll and the joint University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant poll, McMahon says the ground game will prove to be the difference in the race. Democrat Chris Murphy and his supporters, too, have expressed confidence in their own get-out-the-vote efforts.
McMahon’s campaign manager, Corry Bliss, told reporters that the campaign had more than 500 volunteers who knocked on doors Sunday. The plan was to reach more than 200,000 people through door-knocking and phone calls on each day of the weekend. That included door-knocking in Bridgeport, an overwhelmingly Democratic city where Republicans often get crushed on Election Day.
“We’re going after the entire state,” Bliss said. “We have a real presence in all three of the major cities. We’re not ceding any ground. … The vast majority of the polling places, we’ll have someone inside. And we’ll certainly have someone outside, passing out literature outside every poll on Tuesday.”
The massive effort by McMahon will spill over, Bliss said, and help Republican Andrew Roraback of Goshen in the 5th Congressional district against Democrat Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire in a race that is viewed by many as a toss-up.
“Our ground game, I think that’s going to help all Republican candidates,” Bliss told Capitol Watch. “I think it’ll help Roraback, but it will also help state House and state Senate candidates because we’re turning out Republicans and independents. … We do think our ground game will help all candidates. We’re rooting for all the local Republicans to do well on Tuesday. The better they do, the better we’ll do.”
In the same way, Democrats are counting on President Barack Obama to defeat Republican Mitt Romney by a solid margin in Connecticut. If Obama wins by 12 points or more, that would provide a spillover effect for Democrats in Congressional races and state legislative races, Democrats said.
Standing on his home turf in North Haven, Fasano told the volunteers at the field office Sunday that McMahon was running for all the right reasons.
“She’s not in it for fame. She’s not in it for glory,”’ Fasano said. “She’s in it for us.”
He added, “I gotta tell you. I smell victory in the air. This campaign is hitting on all cylinders, thanks to all the people in this room and all the volunteers. But it’s not over. We have two more days and maybe seven hours. It is not over. It’s going to take all of us out there to make sure we get the vote out.”
Regarding McMahon’s schedule, Fasano said, “I don’t think she sleeps.”
Labriola stood above the crowd and said, “We are so close. This is our moment. … We can do this. We can win.”