By KEVIN FREKING
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican candidates for the Senate in conservative-leaning states generally outraised their Democratic opponents in the latest fundraising quarter ending Sept. 30, but Arizona proved an exception as former surgeon general Richard Carmona raised nearly $500,000 more than Republican Jeff Flake.
Self-funding Republican Tom Smith is pouring millions of his own money into the contest in Pennsylvania. And in Massachusetts, Democratic Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren's $12 million haul has helped keep the Massachusetts contest the most expensive Senate race in the nation.
The reports painted a pricey picture in this year's nationwide race for control of the Senate, which hangs on a few tight races including Nevada, North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio.
Republicans are still searching for the four-seat gain they need to win the majority. And though the reports are only one test of political strength, they are viewed as a key indicator of viability when so little else is known about so many races four weeks out from Election Day.
In conservative Arizona, Carmona's report showed that he raised $1.8 million between early August and the end of September, while Flake reported raising nearly $1.3 million. The Flake campaign maintained a slight edge in cash on hand, though.
The race has turned nasty in recent days with Flake's campaign airing ads that feature's Carmona's former boss at the Department of Health and Human Services accusing Carmona of having "issues with anger, with ethics and with women." Meanwhile, Carmona has aired an ad attacking Flake as a lawmaker who helps himself and not veterans.