HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy raised more than $1.2 million over the past three months for his Senate bid, his campaign announced Tuesday, attempting to buttress his argument that he's the party's best-equipped candidate to possibly take on wealthy former wresting executive Linda McMahon in November.
Murphy's campaign said it has now amassed more than $5.45 million and has more than $3.1 million in cash on hand.
"While I can't write myself a $50 million check, the power of our grassroots fundraising operation shows an enthusiasm for our campaign that McMahon just can't match," he said in a written statement.
Murphy faces a primary challenge from former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz on Aug. 14. Her campaign is expected to release her fundraising and spending figures for the past quarter later in the week.
McMahon, who spent $50 million of her own money on her 2010 Senate campaign, also faces a primary challenge from former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays. She has been focusing a lot of her attention on Murphy, however, recently releasing an online ad accusing the Democrat of not understanding the ramifications of the president's health care overhaul, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But the Republican candidate is taking a softer approach on television. Her two new ads, reviewed Tuesday by The Associated Press, feature two women touting McMahon's tax cut plan. The two spots are scheduled to begin airing statewide Thursday on broadcast TV.
Bliss declined to say how much money the campaign is spending on the ads.
One woman mentions how "Washington politicians don't understand what we're going through" and how she has heard McMahon's personal story and believes "she really gets us." The second woman then mentions how McMahon "has a plan to cut taxes for the middle class."
McMahon has proposed cutting the 25 percent income tax rate to 15 percent. The projected top end for the affected 15 percent bracket in 2013 would include a single person earning about $86,000 a year, or a married couple earning about $143,000.
Corry Bliss, McMahon's campaign manager, said tax cut proposal is the "centerpiece" of her jobs plan and she intends to continue to make that plan a key focus of her campaign.
Both McMahon's and Shays' campaigns have yet to release their latest campaign finance figures.
Bysiewicz this week began running her second TV ad. It features Bysiewicz talking about how some people don't want her to wage a primary challenge, but that she's had similar battles before. She spoke of her efforts to ban gifts to state legislators from lobbyists and to extend hospital stays for women who have had mastectomies.
Her campaign manager, Jonathan Ducote, said the campaign is spending about $200,000 on the latest spot. It will air on mostly broadcast stations in the Hartford market, along with Bysiewicz's first ad featuring a woman who benefitted from the mastectomy law Bysiewicz worked on as a state lawmaker.