Governor’s race candidates hit $20 million in fundraising


It’s now a $20 million race to be Georgia’s next governor.

Seven candidates to replace Gov. Nathan Deal have made their next round of financial disclosures, and while a new Republican candidate has entered the field with a splash of cash, the state of the race looks similar to its kickoff in 2017.

All told, the five Republicans and two Democrats have raised more than $20 million since candidates began declaring last spring. In July, candidates had raised more than $10 million.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle retains an enormous financial advantage over all other candidates. Seen as the frontrunner after more than a decade as the state’s second-highest officer, Cagle has attracted a huge number of donations from businesses, lobbyists and Atlanta lawmakers. 

Cagle has $5.7 million on hand — or about as much as the next three highest-raising Republicans. 

Both Secretary of State Brian Kemp and former state Sen. Hunter Hill have both raised more than $2.2 million, and Kemp raised almost $3 million. Hill resigned from his Atlanta Senate seat to focus on his run for governor. 

Cumming Sen. Michael Williams, a populist firebrand who has modeled his run on Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign, has raised $1.8 million total and has trailed the rest of the Georgia Republicans.

The Republican wildcard in 2018 is Clay Tippins, a tech executive and former Navy Seal. Tippins lives in Atlanta and has never held public office, but that hasn’t stopped him from raising $2.1 million. 

In the Democratic field, Stacey Evans has leapfrogged Stacey Abrams in the race for dollars. While Abrams got into headlines early and stayed there — rolling out policy proposals, high-profile endorsements and campaign events around the state — Evans has been marching from speech to speech around the state.

And she’s got something to show for it: Evans has raised $2.29 million to Abrams’ $2.27 million. As with her July filing, the report filed this year shows Abrams burning through cash. The former minority leader in the Georgia House has only $461,365 on hand, while Evans has $1.6 million.

The latest fundraising totals in the gubernatorial race also lend some perspective to a race that occured last year: the Georgia 6th District congressional race. 

Two candidates and legions of political action committees spent more than $55 million on the race for the metro Atlanta-area seat vacated by Tom Price, who left to serve as Trump’s secretary of health and human services.

Primaries in the Georgia gubernatorial race are set for May 22. Primary runoffs will occur in July and the general election on Nov. 6.

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