ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s incumbent Republican U.S. senators have built a healthy fundraising advantage over their rivals in the state’s dual Senate races, newly filed campaign finance reports show.
Sen. David Perdue, who is seeking a second term in November, reported raising nearly $1.9 million in the last three months of 2019. That left the Trump ally and former Reebok and Dollar General CEO with just over $7.8 million in the bank to close the year, the most of any Georgia Senate candidate.
Three Democrats seeking the party's nomination to challenge Perdue failed to keep pace.
Democrat Jon Ossoff, whose fundraising success stood out during an unsuccessful 2017 bid for an Atlanta area U.S. House seat, raised $1 million in the final quarter of last year. Ossoff reported cash on hand of nearly $1.5 million.
Democrat Teresa Tomlinson, a former mayor of Columbus, reported raising $530,000 for the period and finished the year with nearly $320,000 in her campaign account. Sarah Riggs Amico, the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, put a $365,000 personal loan into her campaign and raised nearly $140,000. She reported $470,000 in the bank.
In the other Senate race in Georgia, recently appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a wealthy businesswoman, kickstarted her campaign with a $5 million personal loan — a down payment on her pledge to spend $20 million of her own money on the race. She reported more than $5.4 million total in the bank as of Dec. 31.
Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp in December to replace retiring GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson. She must run to defend the seat in a special election Nov. 3. The election won’t be preceded by the usual party primaries, meaning that multiple Democrats and Republicans could be on the ballot.
Loeffler last week received a challenge from a fellow Republican, Rep. Doug Collins.
Collins had been raising money for re-election to the House before announcing his Senate campaign. He reported ending the year with $1.7 million in his House campaign account. That’s money he should be able to transfer to his Senate race.
Democrat Matt Lieberman, an Atlanta educator and the son of former vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, raised just over $700,000 in the last quarter of 2019 and reported nearly $370,000 in the bank. Two other Democrats in the race, Raphael Warnock and Ed Tarver, didn’t need to file disclosures because they only recently announced their campaigns.
“I don’t know that (Democrats) are in particularly bad shape or anything,” Kerwin Swint, director of the school of government and international affairs at Kennesaw State University, said of the races. “But by the same token, I don’t know that this says anything that is particularly in their favor."