Linda McMahon For Senate

Image by Linda McMahon For Senate via Flickr

Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon has so far spent more than $41.5 million of her own money on her U.S. Senate campaign, inching closer to a pledge to spend as much as $50 million on the nationally watched race in Connecticut.

McMahon’s campaign on Tuesday released a portion of the Republican’s filing with the Federal Election Commission. The entire filing has not yet been posted to the FEC website.

The four pages provided by the campaign show McMahon lent her campaign $20 million between July 22 and Sept. 30, for a total of $41.5 million since she began her campaign last fall. She is not expected to be reimbursed for the loans.

The report shows her campaign has spent more than $39.5 million to date. That figure includes money she spent to garner the state Republican Party’s endorsement at the convention and later the nomination following the August primary.

The campaign for McMahon’s Democratic opponent, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, on Friday released a portion of its candidate’s filing, which showed he has spent $3.3 million over the past three months, for a total of $4.4 million since he entered the race earlier this year. He still has more than $1.1 million in funds, including $500,000 he personally loaned the campaign.

The two are competing for the seat held by Sen. Chris Dodd, who decided not to seek re-election. A Quinnipiac University Poll last week showed Blumenthal leading McMahon by double digits.

McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, has said she’ll spend as much as $50 million of her own money on the race. There are slightly more than two million registered voters in Connecticut.

Her campaign on Tuesday tried to turn attention from McMahon’s spending to Blumenthal.

In an e-mail sent to reporters, McMahon’s campaign criticized Blumenthal for his involvement in a 2008 settlement of predatory lending charges with Countrywide Financial, claiming he created an “$8.6 billion loophole” that taxpayers and public pensions have had to cover _ A new TV ad that’s currently running repeats the accusation.

Mindy Myers, Blumenthal’s campaign manager, said the “ad is completely false and has already been independently discredited. This is just one more attempt by her $50 million attack machine to try and tear down Dick Blumenthal.”

McMahon’s campaign said in its e-mail to reporters that the wealthy candidate decided to fund her own campaign “to avoid any influence from special interests.”

McMahon’s staff released the campaign finance information after initially refusing a request from The Associated Press for the same information on Friday, the deadline for quarterly reports to be postmarked.

McMahon’s spending has not gone unnoticed in Connecticut. A group that calls itself Brothers for Intelligent Government has purchased space on a billboard along a busy stretch of Interstate 95 in Stamford. The ad at first appears to be a McMahon campaign ad, but underneath the trademark “Linda” are the words: “Because she’s bought everything else.”

According to the group’s website, it is not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. The group said McMahon “has done nothing that demonstrates a continued and sustained interest in serving others” and says her campaign “is all about Linda.”

The group did not respond immediately to an e-mail seeking comment about the billboard.

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