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Money & Politics

Tough Night For Self-Financed Senate Candidates

Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon concedes the election to Democrat Chris Murphy on Tuesday in Stamford, Conn. Charles Krupa/AP hide caption

toggle caption Charles Krupa/AP

Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon concedes the election to Democrat Chris Murphy on Tuesday in Stamford, Conn.

Charles Krupa/AP

This was not such a good night for self-financed Senate candidates.

In Connecticut, three-term Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy beat Republican nominee Linda McMahon, who essentially self-financed her bid at a cost of at least $40 million. She and her husband, Vince — who made their wealth running World Wrestling Entertainment — had already plowed $50 million into a Senate race in 2010.

The net result: McMahon spent about four times as much as Murphy, and her three-year quest for a Senate seat will likely cost close to $100 million — easily a record. Her share of the vote dropped from 2010 to this year.

Less dramatically, Pennsylvania Republican Tom Smith spent more than $16 million of his own cash, hoping to upset incumbent Democrat Bob Casey. There was a week or so when it looked as if Smith might catch Casey by surprise. He spent nearly twice as much as the incumbent, but Casey wound up beating him by a 2-to-1 margin.

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