Is Linda McMahon going to break her personal spending limit in Connecticut's Senate race?
According to a finance report filed today, the Senate GOP hopeful loaned her campaign another $20 million between July and September, bringing her ultimate investment in the race to $41.5 million so far. That makes her not only the top self-contributor in a 2010 congressional race but also the biggest spending House or Senate candidate in the country. (Meg Whitman, who is running for governor in California, doesn't count.)
As of Sept. 30, McMahon had just $2.6 million cash in the bank -- that's just over double the $1.2 million cash on hand her Democratic opponent, Richard Blumenthal, reported. But Blumenthal has gotten help from Senate Democrats in recent weeks, as the party has spent at least $2 million in ads attacking McMahon. The GOP, on the other hand, is leaving all the money-related heavy lifting to McMahon.
With just two weeks to go before Election Day, the question has to be how much more is McMahon willing to spend? The former World Wrestling Entertainment chair has previously said she was willing to invest up to $50 million of her own funds in the race. As of 20 days ago, McMahon was still $8.5 million short of that limit, but her campaign has continued its expensive TV ad assault against Blumenthal, which has likely depleted a good portion of those funds.
Recent polls in the race have found Blumenthal leading McMahon by roughly 5 or 10 points -- but most of those surveys were taken before a recent spate of debates, in which Blumenthal didn't perform very well. A bumbling response on a question about how to create jobs in the state was widely panned by other Democrats and subsequently became the subject of a recent McMahon TV spot. Blumenthal, in turn, has attacked McMahon over her ties to the WWE and its treatment of performers.
That criticism prompted Vince McMahon, the candidate's husband, to post a video on the WWE site yesterday slamming critics for "negative and inaccurate attacks" on his company. "We are reaching out directly to you, the WWE universe, our fans, to provide the real facts about WWE," Vince McMahon says in the video. "We ask you to join us in responding to these malicious attacks against the company and you, our viewers."
He called on viewers to "utilize" Facebook, Twitter and other mediums to "set the record straight" about the WWE.
You can watch the full message here:
Democrats quickly questioned whether the campaign, called Stand Up for WWE, was meant to help the company or Linda McMahon's Senate bid. But a WWE spokeman insisted the campaign is solely meant to rehabilitate the WWE's image -- and the company has not in any way coordinated that message with McMahon's Senate campaign.
(Photo of Linda McMahon: Jessica Hill/AP)