The good news for the U.S. Senate campaign of Chris Shays is that he outraised his chief rival for the GOP nomination, Linda McMahon, in the first quarter of 2012, $455,638 to $172,390.

The bad news, of course, is that the independently wealthy McMahon, who spent $50 million on her first run in 2010, can cut her campaign a check whenever it is needed.

Shays released his numbers today. He has $413,096 cash on hand, nearly $100,000 more than he did at the end of 2011. His fundraising for the quarter was similar to his performance after becoming a candidate last fall, when he raised $422,145.

The latest report is unlikely to reassure GOP voters. Shays is deemed the more electable of the two in a recent Quinnipiac Poll, but his fundraising numbers still trail those of the Democratic front-runner, Chris Murphy.

Murphy reported raising $855,000 in the first three months of 2012.

The Quinnipiac Poll was regarded as a major boost for Shays, but its release March 22 came too late to translate into fundraising dollars for the quarter, which closed March 31.

The first quarter report is the last that will be available before the GOP nominating convention in May.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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