Six years ago, Republican Elizabeth Dole reacted with alarm when Democratic Senate opponent Erskine Bowles, a wealthy former investment banker, dug deep into his own pocket.
"TAKE A LOOK AT THIS," she wrote in an e-mail to thousands of supporters in October 2002. "My opponent loaned nearly $3 million of his personal wealth to his own campaign We expect him to use even more of his personal wealth to finance his negative television and radio ads."
"I do not have that kind of personal wealth," Dole wrote. "So, to continue setting the record straight I must be able to count on the generous support of friends like you."
Dole's electronic plea raised thousands of dollars for her campaign.
Now Dole, running for a second term against Democrat Kay Hagan, has loaned her own campaign $3 million.
According to an analysis of disclosure forms by the Center for Responsive Politics, only six senators are wealthier than Dole. She had holdings valued at between $18.5 million and $69.2 million.
In 2002, she reported family assets of up to $23 million.