Some of this year's biggest House and Senate races will come one step closer to being decided today, when voters head to the polls for primaries in four states. Federal candidates are required to file pre-primary reports with the FEC listing the status of their campaigns' funds as of 20 days before the primary. A look at what the candidates have spent and how much they have left on hand can provide a glimpse of what is to come in the general election, if the candidates can get voters on their sides.
In Connecticut's open Senate race (Sen. Chris Dodd is retiring), several Republicans are vying to run against Democrat Richard Blumenthal in November. The top Republicans include Peter Schiff, Rob Simmons, and former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, who has self-funded her campaign almost entirely, having loaned it $21.5 million of her own money. As of July 21, McMahon had spent $21.3 million, outspending both of her Republican opponents more than seven times over. McMahon has $761,131 cash on hand, compared to Schiff's $473,497 and Simmons' $492,370. [See 11 hot house and senate races this November.]
Recent polls suggest that McMahon's big spending may have paid off. Quinnipiac poll results released on August 9 show her with 50 percent of the Republican vote, compared to 28 percent for Simmons and 15 percent for Schiff. Another Quinnipiac poll, released on August 4, shows that McMahon is also the Republican who is polling best among registered voters against Blumenthal, with 40 percent to Blumenthal's 50 percent. This shows McMahon to be narrowing Blumenthal's lead--as of July 16th, Blumenthal had a 17-point lead over McMahon.
There will also be Republican primaries on Tuesday in Connecticut's five Congressional districts, all of which are currently represented by Democrats. All five Democratic incumbents are likely to retain their seats in the general election.