Former wrestling magnate and two-time Senate candidate Linda McMahon was easily confirmed to head up the Small Business Administration yesterday with a vote of 81–19.
McMahon’s confirmation was a rare display of bipartisanship in an increasingly divided political landscape. Notably her former opponents, Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both Democrats, supported her nomination to the cabinet position.
“I am hopeful that under Linda McMahon’s leadership, the SBA will ignite increased support for small businesses, which are the economic backbone and preeminent job creators in Connecticut and nationally,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “As a Connecticut businesswoman and entrepreneur, Linda McMahon knows that small businesses are our country’s most vibrant and vital job creators. The SBA plays an integral role in supporting small businesses, especially those in minority communities, by providing access to capital and connecting them with knowledgeable and experienced professionals whose expertise and experience can help them thrive.”
Murphy said, “Congratulations to Linda McMahon on her confirmation as head of the Small Business Administration. As I’ve said before, while Linda and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, I look forward to working with her to help small businesses in Connecticut.”
The American Bankers Association also congratulated McMahon on her confirmation, with the association’s President and CEO Rob Nichols noting in a statement that “banks are strong supporters of the SBA Advantage and SBA Grow loan programs and back increased funding to ensure small businesses have access to affordable credit. Small businesses are essential for communities to thrive, and we’re eager to build upon the growth-oriented cooperation between SBA and the banking industry.”
McMahon founded World Wrestling Entertainment with her husband Vince McMahon in 1980 and was active in that company until 2009, when she was appointed by Gov. Jodi Rell to the State Board of Education. She resigned that post to run in 2010 for the Senate seat against Blumenthal, then the state’s attorney general. McMahon refused outside donations and spent around $46 million of her own money on the campaign. She ran again in 2012 and lost to Murphy.
Since then, McMahon became a major Republican donor and fundraiser, contributing $5 million to now-President Donald Trump’s foundation and $200,000 to a super PAC that ran anti-Bernie Sanders ads.
In her new role at the SBA, McMahon will succeed Maria Contreras-Sweet, a former commercial banker and public servant from Los Angeles.