HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s Republican Senate candidate, former businesswoman Linda McMahon, is coming close to matching the $50 million she spent on her unsuccessful run for Senate in 2010, new campaign finance records show.
Documents filed with the U.S. Senate showed Friday the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, now WWE, has spent $42.6 million. On Tuesday, she loaned her campaign $3.3 million more. Much of the money has been spent on television advertising.
McMahon spent $50 million of her own money in the 2010 race she lost to Democrat Richard Blumenthal. She said afterward she wouldn’t have to spend nearly as much on a second campaign because she would be better known by voters.
But Corry Bliss, her campaign manager in the latest race, told The Associated Press that McMahon is competing with the national Democrats, special interests and super PACS trying to help her Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy. The outside groups are pouring millions of dollars into TV ads and mailers attacking McMahon.
‘‘The facts are, Congressman Murphy and his special interest friends, they’re spending tens and tens of millions of dollars,’’ he said. ‘‘They’re distorting Linda McMahon’s record and trying to buy this election and we’re not going to let Congressman Murphy buy this Senate seat.’’
A review of spending posted on the Federal Election Commission’s website shows outside groups, ranging from unions to Democratic super PACs, have spent about $7.2 million so far on TV and radio ads, mailers, phone calls and other activities.
For example, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent about $3.2 million on ads, while a political action committee representing the interest of timeshare owners reported spending $125,868 on radio spots. That spending is in addition to the $6.2 million Murphy’s campaign has spent in total through the end of September.
McMahon has repeatedly been the target of accusations by Murphy this year and Blumenthal in 2010 that she’s trying to buy a Senate seat using her personal fortune. But Bliss said McMahon is spending her own money to ultimately help the people of Connecticut in Washington.
‘‘Linda McMahon cannot be bought,’’ he said. ‘‘When Linda McMahon wins, the only people that she will owe are the people of Connecticut, unlike Congressman Murphy, who is just another career politician who is bought and sold by special interests.’’
Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for Murphy’s campaign, accused McMahon of pouring millions of dollars from her WWE fortune ‘‘into smears and attack ads in a desperate attempt to distract Connecticut families from her failed right-wing Republican policies that they've rejected again and again.’’
McMahon has benefited from $700,000 in ads by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and mailers from a national anti-abortion organization and a national pro-business group, and her campaign has raised about $975,000 from contributors.
A Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday showed Murphy leading McMahon. But McMahon’s campaign has questioned the poll and points to other surveys that show her with a close lead.