Donations jump for Georgia GOP's Kemp, Warnock stays strong
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sharply accelerated his fundraising over the summer, taking in $28.7 million for his campaign and an associated leadership committee in a three-month period.
The Republican on Wednesday announced his fundraising numbers through Sept. 30 as he seeks to keep pace with the big amounts of cash that Democrat Stacey Abrams has been hauling in. It's a much stronger performance than the $6.8 million Kemp collected in the two months ended June 30, pushing his total raised to nearly $60 million. It's also more than the $22.4 million he raised in his entire run against Abrams in 2018.
Kemp said that his campaign and his Georgians First committee had $15.4 million in cash left for the five-week sprint to the Nov. 8 election, after spending nearly $20 million from July through September.
Abrams must report her totals later this week. She raised $21.8 million during the two months ended June 30, having collected $49 million by that point.
The 2022 races in closely divided Georgia show how pricey it's gotten in the past four years to compete in the what has quickly become the South's premier battleground state. Hundreds of millions in political spending is pouring out from candidates, political parties and outside groups in the governor's race and the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
Warnock reported raising $26.3 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30. He's now raised about $90 million since winning one of two 2021 runoffs, along with Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff, that gave their party control of the Senate.
Warnock reported $13.7 million in cash on hand. He's been spending even more heavily than Kemp, laying out nearly $35 million in the three-month period.
Walker has yet to report totals, but had struggled to keep up with Warnock, raising about $20 million through June 30.
Warnock is one of several Democratic Senate incumbents in swing states who is trying to cling to their seat amid President Joe Biden’s deep unpopularity.
Warnock, also pastor of the church once led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said he collected from more than 340,000 individual donors in the period.
“Tens of thousands of grassroots donors are helping to propel our campaign across the finish line in November because they see the clear choice they have between Reverend Warnock and Herschel Walker,” Warnock campaign manager Quentin Fulks said in a statement.
While outside spending talking about Warnock is roughly balanced, with $6.9 million for and $6.6 million against the incumbent, according to Federal Election Commission records, outside spending focused on Walker has been much more negative, with $14.3 million against and only $2.6 million for the challenger.
Warnock became Georgia’s first Black U.S. senator after winning a special election in 2020 to fill the unexpired term of Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who stepped down because of failing health. Isakson died in December.