Buying a Senate Seat in Connecticut

She's spent $5 million so far and she's prepared to spend another $25 million of her own money on the object of her desire - a seat in the United States Senate representing Connecticut. She's Linda McMahon, the wife of wrestling kingpin Vince McMahon. From the New York Times:

She is a political novice seeking to unseat one of the most powerful Democrats in the United States Senate. But Linda McMahon does possess one big weapon: a vast personal fortune that she is already wielding to shake up the race.

Ms. McMahon has been saturating residents with television advertisements, pouring money into the campaigns of local elected officials and building a campaign organization that dwarfs its rivals.

The spending, roughly $5 million, more than 10 months before the election, has transformed Ms. McMahon, the former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, into a potent political force as she seeks the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Christopher J. Dodd.

The campaign of Ms. McMahon's main rival in the Republican primary, former Representative Rob Simmons, has responded with a wave of attacks as he suddenly finds himself contending with a formidable opponent.

Even Democrats close to the Dodd campaign acknowledge concerns about facing Ms. McMahon in a general election, given the huge sums of money she has been willing to spend in the first few months of the race. Her campaign says she is prepared to spend at least $30 million to win the seat.

Thirty million is quite the tidy sum considering that in the 2008 cycle the most expensive Senate race in the country was the contest between Al Franken and Norm Coleman up in Minnesota. To win the seat, the challenger Franken raised and spent $22.5 million and the incumbent Norm Coleman raised and spent $19.3 million. But of that $41.8 million, a combined $15 million was spent by both candidates in the legal challenges that arose from the close contest that led to a recount and its ensuing six month long court battle. In other words before election day, Franken and Coleman spent $26.8 million combined. McMahon may exceed that amount on her own.

Still, a bruising primary fight may be what the doctor ordered for flailing Chris Dodd who has spent $1.8 million on the race as of September. As for the other Republican in the race, Rob Simmons, he has spent $900,000 so far. Still he's being outspent 5 to 1. While the race in Connecticut has seen a grand total of $11,034,712 spent so far according to Open Secrets, that's only good enough for second place right now. In Arizona, $11,813,091 has been spent.

Just for the record, after Minnesota the two next most expensive Senate races in the 2008 cycle were in Kentucky with a combined $32.1 million spent (McConnell spent $21 million to defend his seat) and in Texas with a combined $23.0 million spent (Corynn spend $19 million to defend his seat). In the 2008 cycle, the average winner of a Senate seat spent $8,531,267. And the overall record belongs to Jon Corzine who spent $62 million to win a Senate seat from New Jersey in 2000. Combined with his winning and losing runs for governor in 2005 and 2009, Jon Corzine spent an estimated $131 million of his own money in his three runs for office.

Tags: Arizona, Connecticut, Linda McMahon, Minnesota, Money and Politics, Senator Al Franken, Senator Christopher Dodd (all tags)



Re: Buying a Senate Seat in Connecticut

Yeah for the records John Corzine bought his seat in New Jersey for $62 million of his own money. Maybe we shouldnt be lecturing when our side has behaved in the same ill mannger

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-12-30 05:48PM | 0 recs
Apparently, this seat will be tough to hold...

...but the taint of the WWE in the Senate, through her husband, is just too much to bear.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-12-30 05:49PM | 0 recs
RE: Apparently, this seat will be tough to hold...
Well the biggest taint on Vince is and always will be the XFL. The WWE at one point was a huge success story, making Vince a Billionaire. Of course the XFL wiped out a lot of that money and the stock tanked as Vince went away from what actually made him money. I used to love watching, but now its just not enjoyable... Haven't sat down and watched in at least 4 years.
by FUJA 2009-12-31 11:05PM | 0 recs
Dodd needs to retire

He has had a nice long run. Let Blumenthal hold this seat for the Dems and the DSCC focus resources elsewhere.

by desmoinesdem 2009-12-30 07:15PM | 0 recs
RE: Dodd needs to retire
Shame too... I really like Dodd, but it would be a hell of a lot easier if he retired.
by FUJA 2009-12-31 11:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Buying a Senate Seat in Connecticut

I find it hard to complain too loudly about self-funded insurgent campaigns for Senate in Connecticut, for some reason I am not quite able to articulate.

by Steve M 2009-12-30 07:29PM | 1 recs
RE: Re: Buying a Senate Seat in Connecticut
Yes, you speak of our 2006 netroots favorite Ned Lamont. The experience that Ned had as the final outcome will very much mirror McMahon except Ned had Democratic grassroots support in a Democratic leaning state. McMahon is coming in from the other side making he chances even less likely.
by politics64 2010-01-01 12:55PM | 0 recs
Good for Her !
Not only good for her, but I say good for the people of Connecticut. The people of the United States DESERVE the folks they elect into office. At this time, I hope we can all look back at the last decade and say, "Those are the people we elected, and look at how things turned out." Be proud America, you truly got it your way! As I sit here thinking about how I'm going to pay for my wife's ER visit last week, since we don't have health insurance, or how I'm going to pay my mortgage in January, since this windfall for Financial institutions hasn't brought me one new client, I can be proud that we elected a whole new cast of characters in Washington. We're still #1, right?
by BSelznick 2009-12-31 12:56PM | 0 recs
I hope McMahon IS the nominee and Dodd hammers her on the WWE's silent approval of Steroid use and the deaths of all the people Her and Vince's policies have caused.
by FUJA 2009-12-31 11:02PM | 0 recs
Remember others who tried to buy
their way into office, Texas Governor John Connolly spent millions for one delegate, Giuliani did also in 2008. Remember how many millions Ron Lauder spent in NY in his failed attempt to be Mayor. Linda can spend whatever she and her husband want but the people of CT are smart and they will understand what is going on here and unless she has issues that will resonate with the CT electorate, no money in the world will get her a Senate seat.
by politics64 2010-01-01 12:52PM | 0 recs


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