Bloomberg Businessweek has a new Q&A online with Linda McMahon. Below is an excerpt:
When did you realize you’d lost the race?
I was sitting by myself, actually. I had just taken a moment to go upstairs and get my thoughts together on what I was still hoping would be a victory speech. I was just sitting there, going over my speech—clearly you have a concession speech as well, but you’re hoping that’s not the one you use. I wasn’t paying that much attention to the TV. This was about 40 minutes after the polls closed. Then I looked up and saw a check mark next to Chris Murphy’s name on ABC. I barely caught it out of the corner of my eye. I just thought, “Wow.” I was stunned for a moment. I sat there for a few minutes on my own, reflecting on what the race had been. I thought about the thousands of people who not only had touched me but whom I had touched as well. All the notes, “Thank you for running. Thank you for showing me that it’s worth putting everything on the line,” and things like that.
A lot has been made of $97 million you’ve spent in these races. How do you think that’s been portrayed?
The way it’s framed is that I’m trying to buy the election for my own personal gain. What would be my personal gain? I’m not looking for a new career. I’ve had a wonderful career. I was hoping to bring a different voice and perspective and use my skills that have been honed as a CEO in bringing people together. I’ve had a little bit of fame and fortune. I’ve been in the public eye. I wasn’t looking for a hobby. If I were looking for a hobby, it wouldn’t be the United States Senate. That’s one of the toughest jobs I’d probably ever do. I just felt there wasn’t enough compromise going on: People were too far to the left, too far to the right, with no one trying to build a compromise. I understand the attention. Look, it’s an incredible amount of money to spend on a campaign.
Are you glad you ran?
[My husband] Vince told me a story the day after the election. Some guy from WWE had no power [from the storm] so he’d taken his wife and daughter to the Hilton on Tuesday night. They walked into the hotel as I was getting ready to give my concession speech, so they stayed to watch it. His daughter, I think she was 9, stood there as I was giving my speech. This little girl came up when I was in the receiving line and apparently there was some question about the campaign. I touched my heart and touched her heart and said, “Just remember to do things from your heart,” and then I pointed to my head to say, “as well as your head.” He told Vince that was something she would never forget. I don’t know her face. I don’t know him. But it means a lot to know I’ve left an impact on people like that little girl. Everyone needs to feel they can make a difference.
What’s next for you?
One thing I’ll continue to do is our philanthropic work. I’m not really focused right now on what happens next. I don’t really anticipate running for public office again. I think I’ve given that a really good, strong shot. At this moment, it’s not a consideration. Things can always change but it’s not something I anticipate right now.
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