Thursday November 26th, 2015 3:49AM

Carter to report $1.6M in cash for governor's race

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) - Democrat Jason Carter will report having $1.6 million in cash for his gubernatorial campaign after raising about $416,000 in 11 days after the legislative session ended, a campaign spokesman said Sunday.

Carter, a state senator and grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, is running unopposed in the May 20 primary. Gov. Nathan Deal, who is seeking re-election, has yet to release his fundraising totals. Deal previously reported $4.3 million in cash as of Jan. 31.

``Jason's campaign is being built from the grassroots,'' said Carter campaign spokesman Bryan Thomas. ``The number of people supporting our campaign has tripled, as we've seen an enormous outpouring of support from people sending $5 and $10 contributions.''

By law, legislators and statewide officials are prohibited from raising money during the legislative session, which began Jan. 13 and ended March 20. Campaign finance reports are due Monday. A Deal campaign spokeswoman was unavailable on Sunday.

In the Republican primary, Deal faces state schools Superintendent John Barge and former Dalton Mayor David Pennington. Both have yet to file their fundraising reports, although they have been trailing Deal in donations. Pennington had about $200,000 in cash on Jan. 31, while Barge reported just over $26,000. Barge has spoken about the difficulties of persuading donors to give to a candidate challenging an incumbent governor.

But Deal's opponents have been quick to seize on a recent jury verdict in favor of a former employee of the state ethics commission who claimed retaliation for work investigating the governor's 2010 personal and campaign finance reports. Deal has denied any involvement and was not a defendant in the lawsuit, but his opponents have sought to use the verdict to raise questions about his administration. Carter cited the verdict in a recent fundraising email to supporters.

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