Some Georgia US House And Senate Candidates Start 2020 With Millions In The Bank

Feb 1, 2020

Candidates for a pair of U.S. Senate seats and several competitive U.S. House races raked in millions of dollars in campaign contributions in the last quarter of 2019, setting the stage for an expensive election year with national implications.

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) has nearly $8 million in his campaign account, reporting more than $1.8 million in receipts on his most recent federal filing. On the Democratic side of the race, investigative filmmaker Jon Ossoff paced his rivals with a $1 million fundraising haul, starting 2020 with $1.5 million in the bank. 

Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson brought in $532,000 and former Lt. Gov. nominee Sarah Riggs Amico reported $502,000, including another loan of $365,000.

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry dropped out of the Senate race earlier in the week to focus on a run for a DeKalb County Commission seat and raised $45,000 in the last fundraising quarter.

In Georgia's other Senate race, appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) infused her campaign with a $5 million loan and raised another $460,000 from Dec. 4-Dec. 31. She will face off against Republicans and Democrats on the same ballot in a free-for-all November special election in which all candidates regardless of party will run against each other to fill the rest of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson's term.

A pair of new challengers announced their campaigns this week, so Democrat Raphael Warnock and U.S. House Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) will not have to file until the end of this quarter, but Collins collected $658,000 in his House account and has $1.7 million available to use in what will be a protracted intraparty fight.

Democrat Matt Lieberman, the only other major declared candidate in the race, reported a haul of $702,000 with $370,000 cash on hand.

Georgia Senate campaign Q4 fundraising/cash on hand

  • Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) – $1.8 million raised, $7.8 million cash on hand
  • Jon Ossoff – $1.0 million raised, $1.5 million cash on hand
  • Teresa Tomlinson – $532,000 raised, $319,000 cash on hand
  • Sarah Riggs Amico – $137,000 raised (plus a $365,000 self-loan), $472,000 cash on hand
  • *Ted Terry – $45,000 raised, $68,000 cash on hand (dropped out 1/26/20)
  • Matt Lieberman – $702,000 raised, $370,000 cash on hand
  • *Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) – $658,000 raised, $1.7 million cash on hand (raised for GA-09 House campaign)
  • *Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) – $460,000 raised (plus a $5 million loan, fundraising started 12/4/19)

While the race for the 6th Congressional District has thinned out to a rematch of Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) against Republican Karen Handel, the northern Atlanta suburbs continue to see donations roll in.

In the last three months, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) brought in nearly $1 million in contributions and transfers and is sitting on a $2 million war chest.

Karen Handel, the lone Republican left after two candidates ended their campaigns and one switched to the 14th Congressional District race opened up by Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ranger) announcing his retirement, saw a slight uptick in contributions to $300,000 with more than $829,000 cash on hand.

State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) raised about $29,000 but refunded $58,000 received, ending with $244,000 cash on hand. Nicole Rodden, who failed to gain traction after loaning herself nearly $99,000, raised just about $18,000 this quarter and has close to $130,000 in debts.

After loaning herself half a million dollars and raising $23,000 in the second quarter, Marjorie Taylor Greene switched races to the 14th Congressional District and infused another $200,000 loan plus $96,000 in contributions. She ended 2019 with $647,000 cash on hand and $700,000 of her own money put into the race.

Georgia 6th Congressional District campaign Q4 fundraising/cash on hand

  • Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) – $952,000 raised, $2 million cash on hand
  • Karen Handel – $300,000 raised, $829,000 cash on hand

In the crowded 7th Congressional District, several Democrats and Republicans are heading into the primary season with hundreds of thousands left to spend.

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux narrowly lost the race in 2018 and has $863,000 in the bank after bringing in $310,000 last quarter. State Sen. Zahra Karinshak (D-Duluth) added $150,000 of her own money to a fundraising haul of $157,000 to end 2019 with $421,000 on hand.

Another state lawmaker, Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) has amassed $765,000 cash on hand, bringing in a lackluster $77,000 but only spending $82,000 during the three-month reporting period. Lynne Homrich also spent more than she brought in, burning through $150,000 while bringing in $112,000 in contributions. She has $400,000 on hand in that contest. 

Republican Rich McCormick loaned himself another $85,000 plus $62,000 in contributions and has over half a million dollars cash on hand, and Republican Mark Gonsalves has $120,000 in the bank with $100,000 of his own money loaned as well.

Democrat Nabilah Islam made national headlines for a unique request to the Federal Election Commission, asking if she could use campaign funds to pay for health insurance. She reported $87,000 in contributions and spent more than $103,000, ending with about $59,000 in the bank. 

Republican Ben Bullock ($47,000 raised this quarter) joined Greene in switching over to the 14th Congressional District.

Republican Lerah Lee continues to amass hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions ($275,000 this quarter) that are then turned around to pay consultants and other entities who help the campaign ($282,000 this quarter).

Other candidates in the race include Democratic state Rep. Brenda Lopez-Romero ($33,500 raised this quarter), Democrat John Eaves, who did not file a disclosure and Republican Jacqueline Tseng ($2,400 in contributions and a $15,000 loan).

Georgia 7th Congressional District campaign Q3 fundraising/cash on hand

  • Carolyn Bourdeaux – $310,000 raised, $863,000 cash on hand
  • Lerah Lee – $275,000 raised, $74,000 cash on hand
  • Zahra Karinshak – $157,000 raised (plus $150,000 loan), $421,000 cash on hand
  • Lynne Homrich – $112,000 raised, $400,000 cash on hand
  • Nabilah Islam – $87,000 raised, $59,000 cash on hand
  • Renee Unterman – $77,000 raised, $765,000 cash on hand
  • Rich McCormick – $62,000 raised (plus $85,000 self-loan), $530,000 cash on hand
  • Brenda Lopez-Romero – $32,000 raised, $42,000 cash on hand
  • Mark Gonsalves – $20,000 raised, $126,000 cash on hand
  • Jacqueline Tseng – $2,400 raised (plus $15,000 loan), $1,700 cash on hand

Some Georgia incumbents are enjoying healthy fundraising numbers, too.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) brought in $614,000 in receipts with close to $2.9 million in the bank.  Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) is millions ahead of his opponents, sitting on $1.7 million dollars after a $341,000 quarter. Republican primary challenger Daniel Merritt reported an $11,000 haul with less than $3,000 on hand, and Democrat Lisa Ring has $22,000 in the bank after reporting $12,500 in contributions. 

Dana Barrett, a Democrat running in the 11th Congressional District, has $61,000 on hand and raised $93,000 to challenge Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), but Loudermilk has $383,000 in the bank following a $137,000 quarter fueled largely by political action committee donations.