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Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 12:24pm

Barnes, Oxendine Lead Cash Race

Gubernatorial candidates are filing campaign disclosure reports this week, with leading candidates reporting millions of dollars to spend.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat seeking to return to the office, reported raising more than $900,000 from January through March, pushing him to the top in terms of cash on hand.

He had $3.6 million, about twice the amount of the Republican front-runner, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine.

Former Savannah State Senator Republican Eric Johnson this week became the first candidate to put money to use on television ads.

"We're now in the position with the most amount of money of all but one candidate," Johnson says, referring to his position among GOP candidates. "It was time to flex a little muscle."

Johnson quit the Senate last year to campaign.

Other candidates who currently hold state office, including Oxendine, could not raise funds during most of the reporting period, since the General Assembly is in session.

With three months to go before early voting and the primary just four months away, the field of candidates in both parties is crowded.

Gov. Sonny Perdue is barred by term limits from running for re-election.