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Massachusetts Senate hopeful Warren leads fundraising race
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic hopeful in a hotly contested Massachusetts race, was the top fundraiser among U.S. Senate candidates in the third quarter with $12.1 million, according to reports from candidates on Monday.
Monday was the deadline for political campaigns to file their fund-raising reports with the Federal Election Commission for the quarter ended September 30.
Warren is in a tight race with Republican incumbent Senator Scott Brown, one of about a dozen contests nationally that will determine whether Democrats keep majority control of the Senate. Republicans need a net gain of at least four seats to take the majority.
Warren easily out-raised Brown, but fell short of a spot in the money-raising record books, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
"It's definitely a large quarterly total and puts her in the top tier," said Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics. "But it's not unprecedented."
The quarterly record, Biersack said, belongs to Linda McMahon, the former professional wrestling company executive and two-time Republican candidate for Senate in Connecticut. In 2010, McMahon raised $20 million in the third quarter - much of it her own money - only to lose to Richard Blumenthal.
Warren's opponent Brown had the second-largest haul among those surveyed by Reuters, bringing in nearly $7.5 million in the quarter, according to his campaign. Warren has had a narrow lead in most recent polls.
The two contenders in the Senate race in Virginia, another closely watched fight, also raised large amounts with Tim Kaine, a former governor and Democratic party chair, raising $4.5 million. His Republican rival, former governor and Senator George Allen, raised nearly $3.5 million, according to campaigns. Kaine has a slight lead in polls although the race is expected to remain tight.
Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat who would be the first openly gay U.S. Senator if she wins, raised $4.6 million in the quarter, more than double the $2.2 million raised by her Republican opponent, former Governor Tommy Thompson. Thompson led polls immediately after his Republican primary victory but has fallen behind slightly of late.
Indiana Tea Party favorite and Republican nominee for the Senate, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, raised $3 million in the third quarter, double the $1.5 million raised by Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly. Mourdock ousted longtime Indiana Senator Richard Lugar in the Republican primary and the bitter feelings from that race have left some voters disenchanted and polls showing a tight race.
In Florida, Republican Congressman Connie Mack, the son of a former U.S. Senator from Florida, reported raising $2.7 million in the quarter, while incumbent Senator Bill Nelson, reported raising $2.3 million. Nelson has been leading by single digits in most polls.
In Nebraska, Republican Deb Fischer reported raising $2.4 million in the third quarter, while Democratic former governor and Senator Bob Kerrey reported raising $1.7 million. Fischer came from behind to win the Republican primary and is leading in the polls, giving Republicans a good chance of gaining a seat.
Pennsylvania Republican challenger Bob Smith slightly outraised incumbent Senator Bob Casey with their campaigns reporting $1.6 million and $1.5 million raised in the quarter. Smith has narrowed Casey's lead in recent polls.
In Connecticut, Chris Murphy, the Democratic congressman facing McMahon in this year's Senate race, raised nearly $2.9 million, according to his campaign.
Nevada Senator Dean Heller, the Republican appointed to fill out the term of an incumbent who resigned, reported raising $1.6 million. Figures for his opponent, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, were not yet available.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who was considered one of the most endangered Democratic incumbents in the nation, reported earlier this month that she had raised $5.8 million in the quarter, according to her campaign.
Her Republican opponent, Todd Akin, had not filed a report as of Monday afternoon and his campaign spokesman did not return a message seeking fundraising figures. Last week, Akin said he had raised $1 million in donations on-line, but that was not specifically for the third quarter.
Akin was criticized in August for saying women have a biological defense against a pregnancy from "legitimate rape." Some leading Republicans called on him to drop out of the race and many major donors pulled their support for him. McCaskill has led most polls by single digits since the remarks.
The completed filings, which will not be made public until later this month, provide a glimpse of the fund-raising efforts of candidates before the final reporting date of October 25.
(Additional reporting by Kevin Murphy, David Dawson, Brendan O'Brien, Alina Selyukh and Richard Cowan; Editing by Greg McCune and Todd Eastham)
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