HARTFORD — Democrat Chris Murphy was elected to the US Senate Tuesday in a bruising match against pro wrestling magnate Linda McMahon, who outspent him many times over with more than $42 million of her own money from a fortune built on headlocks and body slams.
Murphy, 39, a three-term congressman from northwestern Connecticut, will succeed Senator Joe Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and is retiring.
With about one-third of the vote in, Murphy had 53 percent and McMahon 46 percent. The race marked the second Senate loss in two years for McMahon, a Republican who was defeated in 2010 by Democrat Richard Blumenthal. McMahon plowed nearly $100 million of her fortune into the two races.
‘‘Tonight, we proved that what matters most in life is the measure of your ideas, is the measure of your determination, is the measure of your friends, not the measure of your wallet,’’ Murphy told a crowd of about 400 supporters at a Hartford hotel.
Murphy had been ahead in the polls leading up to Election Day and jumped out to a commanding lead in early returns. McMahon soon conceded.
McMahon outspent Murphy by about 4½-to-1, which opened the way for the congressman to portray her as a rich businesswoman trying to buy the election.
During the grueling race, Murphy also depicted McMahon, 64, as a pretender on abortion rights and accused her of supporting the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy like herself, backing Republican plans to privatize Medicare and wanting to phase out Social Security.
In addition, Murphy made an issue of McMahon’s record as chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, now WWE. He said that its programming — often raunchy and cartoonishly violent, with kicks to the crotch, chairs slammed over wrestlers’ heads, and bouts between buxom, scantily clad beauties — was demeaning to women, and that the company shipped jobs out of the US by manufacturing toys overseas.
Connecticut has not had a GOP senator since Lowell Weicker left office in 1989.
Andres Ayala Jr. of Bridgeport won election to become the first Latino member of Connecticut’s state Senate. Ayala, a Democrat serving in the state House of Representatives, defeated Republican Caz Mizera of Stratford to represent the 23d state Senate District.