Even though many of Georgia’s gubernatorial candidates were not allowed to fundraise for three months during the 2018 legislative session, big money numbers were turned in the latest reporting period.
In fact, the candidates for governor reported millions of dollars added to their campaign funds, according to financial disclosures filed this weekend. The report covers Jan 31 through March 31, which gave some candidates only two days of fundraising after the session ended March 29 at midnight.
On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has the most money on hand, although he was limited to two days of fundraising (which brought in $20,206) because of the General Assembly limitations. He currently has over $4.5 million on hand which he has set aside for heavy TV airtime. His total contributions to date are $6,790,315. Cagle has also begun his second Bus Tour across Georgia.
The two Republicans who seem to be fighting it out for the second spot, former state Senator Hunter Hill and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, each have over $1 million in cash on hand. Hill pulled in major donations from Braves chief executive Terry McGuirk and Robert Loudermilk of the Loudermilk Companies real estate firm during this reporting period, and now has $1,120,864 cash on hand. His total contributions this reporting period were $442,891, and he reported spending $500,000 on campaign ads which hit TV airways during this time period. Hill has raised $2,702,053 to date.
Kemp, who was limited in fundraising this period as a state Constitutional Officer, raised $34,970 this period, but has $1,631,521 cash on hand. He has spent over $500,000 over the last two months, mainly on TV airtime. He has raised a total of $2,920,108 in the race.
The latest addition to the race, businessman Clay Tippins raised $405,177 this period, and has $1,591,518 cash on hand. His major donors included Bob Shaw of the carpet industry, and Lin Wood, a prominent attorney. Tippins showed expenditures of about $540,000 this period, and has raised $2,544,518 to date.
State Sen. Michael Williams raised $4,501.45 this reporting period, and has $1,268,818 cash on hand. He has given his campaign about $1.5 million in personal loans.
On the Democratic side, former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams raised $1,006,947 during this reporting period and has $898,553 on hand. Reports show that nearly two-thirds of her contributions came from out-of-state. However, nearly $325,000 came from Georgia donors, including Stephanie Blank, a prominent children’s advocate and the ex-wife of Falcons owner Arthur Blank. Also among her donors are children of billionaire George Soros.
Although she was out-raised in this period by Abrams, former state Rep. Stacey Evans has $1,486,522 cash on hand. She put more than $1.2 million of her own money into her account early, but this time saw donations from former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Dan Halpern, a major Democratic National Committee fundraiser, and Cousins chief executive Larry Gellestedt, who is part of a task force to recruit Amazon to Georgia. Her total contributions this period were $321,496.