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McCain gives $1 million to Senate Republican candidates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator John McCain is donating $1 million left over from his 2008 presidential campaign to help Senate Republican candidates ahead of the November 2 elections, aides said on Wednesday.

McCain's donation to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which distributes funds for Senate Republican candidates, was described as the biggest transfer of funds by any Republican lawmaker to the committee this election cycle.

Republicans appear headed for big gains in the U.S. Senate in the November 2 congressional elections, but seem unlikely to win a majority. Democrats currently hold a 59-41 advantage. Polls show Republicans leading in races that could give them a net gain of eight seats.

"On the Democratic side, they have the president raising money for them, they have 59 senators and we have 41. This type of support from Sen. McCain is incredibly helpful and we deeply appreciate his support," said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

McCain lost the 2008 election to President Barack Obama and this year is running for re-election to his Senate seat representing Arizona. He fended off a challenge from a conservative former talk radio host and won the Republican nomination in August and is likely to win on November 2.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Mohammad Zargham)