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Entrepreneurs as Senate Candidates

Cameron Cushman

So who will fill these empty Senate seats? Will the American people choose the real job creators in our economy to get our country hiring again? I thought I’d profile a couple of candidates with backgrounds in innovative high-growth companies that are running for office in November.

Linda McMahon is running to replace the retiring Chris Dodd in Connecticut. McMahon is one of the founders of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). As a candidate, she is positioning herself as a friend to startups in this home of hedge funds and venture capitalists. Her website extols her as “a businesswoman, not a politician” and tells the story of how she grew her company, originally the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), from a modest 13-person operation to a global enterprise with over 500 employees. She is running as “an outsider with 30 years of real life business experience who understands how to balance a budget and create jobs.” She says, “companies can’t spend their way out of debt, and neither can countries.”

McMahon has a tough primary opponent in former Congressman Rob Simmons, but recent polls show her with a slight lead. They are dueling for the right to face the heavily favored Democrat and current Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in November.

Carly Fiorina, former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) is challenging the incumbent Barbara Boxer in California. What would the former head of the largest technology company in the world bring to the Senate? Fiorina believes that the top priority in Washington should be economic growth and job creation. “If Washington is serious about creating jobs, then it must get serious about growing the economy. Small businesses, family-owned businesses and entrepreneurs are the economic engines that will lead us through these difficult times.” It will be interesting to see if her candidacy will gain momentum in the home state of Silicon Valley.

Interestingly, neither of these candidates have ever served in political office before and the latter has even admitted that she has not traditionally voted. But both of these candidates know more about job creation—because they’ve actually done it—than perhaps anyone currently in the Senate.

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