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GOP Candidates Hit TV Airwaves Early in Connecticut Senate Race

Yet another Republican in the Connecticut Senate race launched a new television ad Tuesday — 10 months before the primary — further underscoring how competitive and expensive the contest has already become.

Former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley (R) hit the airwaves Tuesday with his second ad, titled “Future.— He follows fellow Republican and former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, who went up on the airwaves for a single day last week to coincide with President Barack Obama’s trip to the state to raise money for Sen. Chris Dodd (D).

Foley and McMahon are only two of the five Republicans looking to challenge Dodd, who is in a tough fight to win re-election according to public polls. Former Rep. Rob Simmons, state Sen. Sam Caligiuri and businessman Peter Schiff are also running for the GOP nod, although none of them have gone on the air yet.

The move by Foley and McMahon to buy TV time this early underscores how competitive the race for the GOP nomination has become with the convention and primary more than six and ninemonths away, respectively. Foley and McMahon, both of whom have contributed personally to their campaigns to varying degrees, are attempting to set themselves apart from the pack early with their battling TV ad scripts.

“Thanks to Washington, every child in America starts off over $38,000 in debt,— Foley says in the new ad. “I’m Tom Foley. While Washington has gone on a spending spree, they’ve left our children to pay the bill. It’s just irresponsible to mortgage their future with our debt.—

McMahon’s 30-second ad, “Pat on the Back,— ran on Friday statewide and in the New York City media market.

“Today, Chris Dodd is getting another pat on the back from Washington,— McMahon says in the spot. “Chris Dodd, who predicted that passing the stimulus package would create or save 41,000 jobs in Connecticut. Instead? We’ve lost 24,000.—

This is also McMahon’s second round of television advertisements. In the first couple weeks of her candidacy, political newcomer McMahon aired statewide television advertisements introducing herself to voters.

It’s an effort she can afford to make: McMahon is by far the biggest self-funder of the GOP field. According to reports from the Federal Election Commission, she gave $3.5 million to her campaign in the first couple weeks of her bid. She is reportedly willing to spend more than $30 million on the race.

Foley gave his campaign $500,000 of the $780,000 he raised last quarter, and he ended September with $1.2 million in the bank.

Simmons, who many still consider the frontrunner, raised $986,000 in the third quarter and had just over $1 million cash on hand. Public polls show Dodd trailing Simmons.

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