An Election Lesson: Moving from Business to Politics Is Tough
The results so far underscore the pitfalls that face executives who feel the call to serve the public. Many fail to realize that while business and politics share some similarities, there are some important differences. For one thing, members of the opposing party can be more difficult to deal with than any board of directors. Then there's the matter of the press, whose close scrutiny can trip up even the most press-savvy executives. Finally, there's no guarantee that a high-profile businessperson -- even one who spends millions of his or her own money seeking elective office -- will get a return on that investment.
Outwrestled by a Democrat
McMahon, for instance, vowed to spend $50 million of her own money on her Senate race against Democrat Richard Blumenthal, the well-known Connecticut attorney general. But McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), lost the bout. Her defeat was no surprise: Heading into the election, McMahon trailed Blumenthal 46% to 53%, according to Rasmussen Reports. And McMahon's husband, current WWE Chief Executive Vince McMahon, drew a warning from the U.S. Department of Justice over his plans to give away WWE-themed merchandise at the polls.
Meanwhile, in West Virginia, Raese -- who heads Greer Industries, a limestone, steel, asphalt and media company owned by his family -- lost his race for the Senate seat that had been held for more than 50 years by the late Sen. Robert Byrd. Popular West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, won the seat. In the high-turnout race, Raese was unable to shake lingering doubts about his commitment to the job. For instance, reporters discovered that his family lives in Palm Beach, Fla., and his wife, Liz, is registered to vote in that state. He was also ridiculed over a casting call for a National Republican Senatorial Committee TV commercial, which called foractors with a "hicky" look.
Meanwhile, Democrat Jerry Brown won a "decisive victory" over Whitman, who poured more than $100 million of her own money into her campaign. And Boxer's victory over Fiorina, who spent $1 million of her cash, was a rare setback in a big night for the Republicans. For complete coverage, see AOL's Politics Daily.