Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Self-financed Linda McMahon could tip Senate to Republicans

The news Tuesday that the Connecticut Senate race is edging close to a dead heat was bad news for Democrats looking at the national map.

Not only is Republican Linda McMahon’s self-funded steamroller of a campaign going to require national Democrats to divert money into the race at a time when they are already stretched thin, but Connecticut could be the state that moves the GOP to 10 pickups and control of the Senate.

Democrats tried Tuesday to push back against the idea that Connecticut was moving to a tossup, pointing to an internal poll from Monday showing Democrat Richard Blumenthal up 12 points over Republican Linda McMahon. But the reality of the aggregate polling is that former WWE CEO McMahon has steadily narrowed the gap with a barrage of ads, and shows no signs of easing off her stated goal of spending up to $50 million of her own money.

That is a huge boon for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which can focus its resources on other strategic states in a mad dash over the final month before Election Day. The NRSC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee both have roughly $24 million in their war chests to spend in the last 30 days.

The likelihood of a GOP Senate takeover seems a bit less likely than it did a few weeks ago, when Beltway speculation abounded. But as of now, the Nutmeg State looks like the most vulnerable of the five races that make up the Democrats final firewall: California, Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Washington.

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