The U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Linda McMahon outfitted its urban poll standers today in purple T-shirts styled after those worn by SEIU, the liberal union that is backing Democrat Chris Murphy.

“It clearly is a rip off of our shirts,” said Paul Filson, the political director of SEIU, which represents many minority health care workers. “It definitely is confusing.”

The shirts are part of an effort by McMahon to blunt the urban vote Murphy needs in Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven, where her workers also have left literature urging a vote for Obama and McMahon.

“There are thousands of Democrats across the state of Connecticut who are supporting President Obama that are also supporting Linda McMahon today. We want to make sure their voices are heard,” said Corry Bliss, her campaign manager.

He did not deny the similarity to SEIU garb.

Filson said SEIU has about 500 members working today to get out the vote for Obama and Murphy, many also wearing purple T-shirts.

The message on the McMahon version says, “I support Obama & McMahon.”

“It’s all part of their strategy of ticket splitting, no doubt about it,” Filson said. “She doesn’t win if people don’t split their tickets, so every little thing she can do to confuse people, she is doing.”

By her own account, McMahon remains an enthusiastic support of Mitt Romney.


Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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