Shays, who served in the House for over 21 years, also has a moderate record that doesn't make him a favorite with the state's GOP primary electorate. During his tenure, for example, he voted for minimum wage increases, spoke out against the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war and refused to accept money from outside Republican groups, promoting a "good-government" image.
The electability argument has become harder for him to make recently, as the race dynamics shifted. Another Quinnipiac poll released in June showed McMahon running better than Shays against Murphy.
McMahon has significant baggage from her time as WWE CEO, and in the general election we can expect Democrats to once again run ads similar to two years ago, hitting her on the company's practices and treatment of wrestlers. Murphy previewed the attacks this weekend on WFSB-TV's "Face the State. Discussing the industries he's raised money from, he said, "Not all of us are Linda McMahon. Not all of us can make money off selling violence and making fun of the vulnerable to kids."
McMahon has also already shifted her focus to the general election battle, and is running a television ad
attacking Murphy for saying his jobs plan is a "work in progress."
Assuming he wins, Murphy would start the general election as the favorite. President Obama
is expected to win the presidential race in the Democratic-leaning state, and McMahon would likely have to run well ahead of Mitt Romney
-- her campaign sought distance after his vice presidential pick of Paul Ryan
, with McMahon's spokesperson Corry Bliss saying
that "Linda McMahon will never support a budget that cuts Medicare."
But given McMahon's huge capacity to self-fund and her carefully re-crafted image, there remains the possibility that this race will become one to watch this fall.