Connecticut Senate candidate and former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon has spent more than $22 million of her own money to burnish her image and overtake her more established Republican primary opponent, former Rep. Rob Simmons.
Real-estate billionaire Jeff Greene, who made his money betting against the subprime mortgage market, has sunk $5 million into his bid for the Florida Senate Democratic nomination and recently took a commanding lead over his primary rival, Rep. Kendrick Meek.
Similar dynamics are on display in a host of House races and in Senate contests in Wisconsin, New Hampshire and California, where wealthy newcomers are using their cash and fresh faces to scramble the campaign field.
Indeed, frustration with Washington, the possibility of a Republican surge and some choice open-seat races are all contributing to a bumper crop of 2010 self-financing candidates — even though history suggests most of them will lose.