The influential Cook Political Report  on Thursday moved the Connecticut Senate race from “likely Democrat” to “toss up.”

The change is a result of the effectiveness of Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s attacks on rival Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th District, said the report’s Jennifer Duffy.

In an advertising blitz, McMahon has tied Murphy to a Congress that has a pathetic 12 percent approval rating. She has also called Murphy a lawmaker who shirks his duties by skipping committee hearings and a deadbeat homeowner who failed to make several mortgage payments.

Whether true or not, the attacks were likely unexpected, Duffy said.  The Murphy campaign did not always appear ready to fend them off.

“The Murphy campaign was not lacking in confidence,” Duffy said. “It has to be surprised and even in shock.”

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