SBD/Issue 37/Law & Politics

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  • Former Athletes, Sports Industry Execs Star In Political Races

    With Election Day under way, THE DAILY takes a look at several candidates with ties to the sports industry, including former athletes and current and former execs. See tomorrow's issue for results of these races.

    Linda McMahon
    Former WWE CEO
    U.S. Sen.
    Heath Shuler
    Former NFLer
    U.S. Rep.
    North Carolina
    Jon Runyan
    Former NFLer
    U.S. Rep.
    New Jersey
    Rob Cornilles
    Game Face Founder & President
    U.S. Rep.
    Jim Renacci
    Former AFL Columbus Destroyers Owner
    U.S. Rep.
    Keith Fimian Former NFLer U.S. Rep. Virginia Republican
    Chris Dudley Former NBAer Gov. Oregon Republican
    Shawn Bradley Former NBAer State Rep. Utah Republican

    LINDA MCMAHON: A Quinnipiac Univ. poll released yesterday morning showed Connecticut Attorney General Dick Blumenthal leading McMahon 53%-44% in the race for the state's vacant U.S. Senate seat.  Blumenthal's nine point lead is "down 3 points from an 12-point advantage in a Quinnipiac poll conducted last week" (, 11/1). Meanwhile, the WWE is "pulling the plug" on Election Day giveaways after the U.S. Department of Justice warned the organization that it is a federal offense to "pay or offer to pay an individual a thing of value for voting." The WWE had planned to give away swag at Connecticut polling places (, 11/1).

    HEATH SHULER: A recent Democratic poll showed Shuler, the incumbent, leading challenger Jeff Miller by 15 points in the race for North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, but neutral polls are "harder to come by." Some analysts "rate the race a toss-up; others favor Shuler" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/26). Shuler, a conservative Democrat, is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group that has spent much of this election trying to distance itself from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Shuler has detailed his desire to become Speaker of the House (Asheville CITIZEN-TIMES, 10/28).

    JON RUNYAN: A Monmouth Univ. poll conducted Oct. 22-25 showed Runyan with a slight lead over incumbent John Adler in the race for New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District. But several independent pollsters said that the race is "too close to call." Runyan "has campaigned on a promise to cut taxes but has offered few specifics about the programs he would trim or eliminate." He also "has boasted about his lack of political experience, saying Washington veterans have failed to solve the nation's problems" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/31).

    ROB CORNILLES: An Elway Research poll conducted between Oct. 18-21 showed Cornilles trailing incumbent Democrat David Wu 51%-38% in Oregon's 1st Congressional District (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/25). Cornilles said that "his own record of job creation -- nearly 600 and counting by his count -- more than compensates for his lack of political experience." That is a "theme he underscores repeatedly in making the point that he is better qualified than Wu to lead the tech-heavy 1st District out of recession and into the limelight of international trade and prosperity" (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/14).

    JIM RENACCI: Renacci, also an investor in the Single-A California League Lancaster JetHawks, is running against Democratic incumbent John Boccieri in Ohio's 16th Congressional District. Renacci "wants to get spending under control, repeal the health care bill and extend the Bush tax cuts" (Wooster DAILY-RECORD, 10/31).

    KEITH FIMIAN: Fimian faces off against Democratic incumbent Gerry Connelly in Virginia's 11th Congressional District. He has promised that he "wouldn't be silent" if elected. Fimian: "I'm going to Congress to break china -- china with a small c -- not to accept the status quo. I'm not going there to get along -- I'm going there to shake things up and bring fiscal sanity back to our country" (, 11/1).

    Dudley In Dead Heat In
    Oregon's Gubernatorial Race

    CHRIS DUDLEY: A recent Rasmussen Reports poll showed Dudley with a slight lead over Democratic candidate John Kitzhaber in Oregon's gubernatorial race. The candidates "have been in a dead heat in Oregon for weeks in a governor's race about fresh perspectives versus experience." Dudley "has centered his campaign on proposals to cut capital gains taxes." He said that they "would help restore confidence among investors and entrepreneurs turned hesitant after Oregon voters approved higher taxes on wealthy households and businesses in January with votes on two measures" (AP, 10/30).

    NEWS & NOTES: YAHOO SPORTS' Steve Cofield notes the UFC in the past "hasn't publicly gotten involved in the world of politics ... aside from lobbying states to legalize and regulate mixed martial arts." But that "changed this year as several key members of the promotion have gotten involved in the heated Nevada Senate race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle." UFC President Dana White, just before UFC 121, "made appearances in Las Vegas and Reno to support Reid." UFC fighter Frank Mir also has gotten "plenty of facetime on local television and radio with his backing" of Reid (, 11/1)....Baseball HOFer Whitey Herzog during KTVI-Fox' local coverage in St. Louis of World Series Games One and Two last week appeared in ads for Prop A, a "statewide ballot question that could lead to rescinding the earnings tax in St. Louis and Kansas City" (, 10/29).

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