Wrestling executive Linda McMahon easily defeated former Rep. Christopher Shays in Connecticut's Republican Senate primary Tuesday, early returns showed. Rep. Chris Murphy won the Democratic nomination to oppose her for the seat of retiring independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

The Associated Press called the race for McMahon -- who lost the 2010 race for the state's other Senate seat to Richard Blumenthal -- around 8:30 with less than 10 percent of the votes in but with her running up big victories in towns and cities.

With 24 percent of the vote in, McMahon led by a 3-to-1 margin, swamping the Shays campaign, the Hartford Courant reported.

With wide advantages in fundraising, endorsements, and the Democratic Party's backing, Murphy roared to victory over former state Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz in his primary.