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McMahon Among Most Spendy Self-Funders

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Republican Linda McMahon loaned herself $49.5 million in her losing bid for the Senate in Connecticut.

McMahon has refused to rule out another bid for federal office, including the seat currently occupied by Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Curious about the other top self-funders in Congressional elections? Hereís the rest of the Top 10 list:

3. Blair Hull (D): He spent more than $28.7 million from his pocket (including personal contributions and loans) in the 2004 Illinois Senate race. But he didnít make it out of the primary, earning just 11 percent of the vote in a contest won by then-state Sen. Barack Obama.

4. Former Rep. Michael Huffington (R): The natural gas magnate lost a California Senate bid in 1994. Then the husband of Arianna Huffington, he spent $28.3 million on the effort but was narrowly defeated by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

5. Ned Lamont (D): He spent $17 million in the 2006 Connecticut Senate race, defeating Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary. Lieberman then famously left the Democratic Party and beat Lamont in the general election as an Independent. Lamont spent nearly
$9 million more on a bid for governor this year, ending another expensive effort after losing in the Democratic primary.

6. Peter Fitzgerald (R): The banking executive spent $14.6 million on his successful 1998 campaign against then-Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (Ill.). He chose to retire instead of seek re-election.

7. Rep. Darrell Issa (R): Then a California business executive and now one of the most wealthy Members of Congress, Issa spent $13 million of his personal fortune in a failed 1998 Senate run during which he did not advance past the GOP primaries. Two years later, he won a House seat after loaning his campaign an additional
$3.1 million. Issa also helped finance the recall of California Gov. Gray Davis (D) in 2003. He will be chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the next Congress.

8. Pete Ricketts (R): The former chief operating officer of Ameritrade, Ricketts spent $12 million in an unsuccessful quest to defeat Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) in 2006. A national committeeman for the state GOP, he continues to be an active donor for conservatives in Nebraska and elsewhere.

9. Mark Dayton (D): The heir to the Dayton Hudson Department Store fortune (now the Target Corporation) spent $11.7 million to win a Minnesota Senate seat in 2000. He did not seek re-election in 2006, but he will become the Minnesota governor in January after spending at least $4.2 million.

10. Jim Pederson (D): The businessman spent $10.9 million in a losing bid to oust Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) in 2006. He is currently pondering whether to run for mayor of Phoenix.

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