ENG: Linda Marie McMahon (née Edwards, born October 4, 1948) is an American professional wrestling magnate and a perennial candidate for the Republican Party. She is notable for her career developing WWE with her husband Vince McMahon. McMahon was active with WWE, renamed from the original WWF in 2002, from 1980 to 2009. During this time, the company grew from a small regional business in New York to a large multinational. McMahon and her husband became wealthy through the WWE's success, and the McMahon family name is now synonymous with the wrestling industry. As President and later CEO of the company, she negotiated business deals, launched wrestling merchandise, signed wrestler contracts, and managed and wrote for WWE publications. She also started the company's civic programs, Get REAL and Smackdown Your Vote. McMahon has occasionally performed in the ring, most notably in a wrestling feud with her husband which climaxed at WrestleMania X-Seven.
She left WWE in 2009 to run unsuccessfully for a seat in the United States Senate from Connecticut, losing to Democratic Party nominee Richard Blumenthal in the general election. McMahon was the 2012 Republican nominee for Connecticut's other Senate seat to replace retiring Senator Joe Lieberman in the general election in November 2012, but lost again to Democratic Representative Chris Murphy.
McMahon was born Linda Marie Edwards to Henry and Evelyn Edwards in New Bern, North Carolina. She was an only child and grew up as a "jock", playing basketball and baseball. Her parents were both employees Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, a military base.
She was raised in a traditional, conservative family and attended Catholic Mass regularly. During one Mass, Edwards, at the age of 13, happened to meet Vince McMahon, then 16. Her mother worked in the same building as McMahon's mother, although they had not met.
Vince's mother became good friends with the Edwards family, and Vince, who had lived with several abusive stepfathers, enjoyed the feeling of stability that he felt at the home. Edwards and McMahon dated throughout their high school years. She attended Havelock High School and Vince attended nearby Fishburne Military School.
During this time, Vince was a "permanent fixture" at her home, spending hours with Linda and her family. He attended East Carolina University, studying business administration. Edwards was an Honors student in high school and aspired to become a pediatrician. Shortly after her high school graduation, Vince asked her to marry him. They married on August 26, 1966, when she was 17. She enrolled at East Carolina University in 1966, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in French and gained certification to teach. From 1968-1971, Vince worked as a traveling cup salesman before joining his father's company, the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). Linda finished college in three years so she could graduate together with Vince. Their son Shane was born in 1970 followed by daughter Stephanie in 1976.
In 1969 the McMahons moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland and Vince began working as an independent promoter with his father’s company, Capitol Wrestling, located in Washington, D.C. Linda worked as a receptionist at the corporate law firm of Covington & Burling.
She translated French documents and trained as a paralegal in the probate department. Linda learned a great deal about intellectual property rights, which she found useful in her later career.
Financially, the couple fared poorly for several years, and in 1976, while pregnant with Stephanie, Linda and her husband filed for bankruptcy. They also briefly received food stamps, until her husband took on a 90-hour a week job at a quarry.
By 1979 Vince had decided to start his own wrestling company. He purchased the Cape Cod Coliseum in Massachusetts and founded Titan Sports, Inc. in 1980. Vince and Linda held small hockey and other sporting events in addition to wrestling at the Cape Cod Coliseum. At one point, Linda cooked meatball sandwiches to feed the fans at these sporting events. As the company grew, Linda assisted Vince with administration and used her knowledge of intellectual property law to assist in trademark protection for the company. However, during much of these early years, Linda personally had little interest in professional wrestling.
In 1982, Vince McMahon purchased Capitol Wrestling, better known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation, from his father. This made Vince the owner of a large regional wrestling company, well-established in the Northeast. He later expanded his market by airing WWF shows on national television.
In 1983 the McMahons moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, where they continue to reside as of 2010. McMahon has 6 grandchildren.
Political career - Connecticut Board of Education
McMahon was appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor Jodi Rell, in January 2009. Linda went through a confirmation process in the Connecticut State Assembly, where she was questioned on her record as CEO of WWE. The State Senate approved her nomination by a vote of 34-1 and the House by 96-45, with some opponents expressing concerns that the nature of her WWE activities would send the wrong message. State representative Bruce Morris claimed she lacked "depth of knowledge regarding education". However, state representative John Hetherington said it "would be good to have someone outside the establishment on the board."
On April 1, 2010, McMahon resigned from the State Board of Education, because state law does not allow board members to solicit campaign contributions.
2010 U.S. Senate campaign
On September 16, 2009, McMahon announced her candidacy for U.S. Senator from Connecticut. She announced she would spend up to $50 million of her own money to finance her campaign and refused outside donations, the third most ever spent on a senatorial campaign. She ran for the Republican nomination, campaigning on promises of lower taxes, fiscal conservatism, and job creation. She hired a campaign staff, and delivered speeches that some criticized as too calculated. Her mail, radio, television, and Internet advertisements quickly gained name recognition and strong poll numbers over her opponents.
McMahon's spending became a key argument of one of her rivals, former Congressman Rob Simmons, who accused her of "buying the election". McMahon and Simmons engaged in a frequently bitter contest. At the party convention, McMahon received the most support, but Simmons received enough votes to qualify for the ballot for the August 10 primary, although he was not actively campaigning. In late July—two weeks before the primary—however, Simmons relaunched his campaign by airing ads on TV reminding voters that his name would be on the ballot, participating in debates, and accepting interviews with editorial boards. A third candidate, Peter Schiff, qualified for the ballot by submitting petition signatures. McMahon defeated her opponents and faced Richard Blumenthal in the general election, losing by 11%. The only county that McMahon carried was Litchfield.
2012 U.S. Senate Campaign
Immediately after her loss to Blumenthal, McMahon hinted that she would run again for Senate in 2012. McMahon maintained a high profile following the election, running television ads, campaigning for politicians, and making frequent media appearances. When Joe Lieberman announced that he would retire from the U.S. Senate, she became the Republican Party favorite for the 2012 election.
On September 20, 2011 in Southington, Connecticut, McMahon officially announced her candidacy. On May 18, 2012, McMahon earned the endorsement of the state Republican Party at the Connecticut State Republican Convention by a delegate vote of 658 to 351 over the next-highest candidate, former congressman Chris Shays. The two were the only candidates to qualify for the primary, which took place on August 14, 2012. McMahon defeated Shays by a three-to-one margin, spending $15.7M of her personal money on the campaign. She faced Democratic Representative Chris Murphy in the general election and lost, marking her second consecutive defeat.