Campaign finance reports highlight trends in 2018 gubernatorial race

Now that the first campaign finance filing deadline has passed, we have a better idea of what each of the six gubernatorial campaigns will look like from a fundraising standpoint.

On the Republican side, the reports confirmed the conventional wisdom that state capitol veteran Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will be the top fundraiser in the field. He outraised his closest rival, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, by over $1 million. A closer look at the report shows that while Kemp was outraised by Cagle, he had a slightly larger pool of itemized donors (donors who give over $100 must be listed on the report) and also drew in about $10,000 more in non-itemized donations. Moreover, less than 87 percent of his cash came from donors who gave over $1,000, compared to almost 94 percent for Cagle. Kemp also received the maximum donation ($6,600) from just 76 donors compared to 193 for Cagle. These numbers might feed the narrative that Kemp is more popular among enthusiastic grassroots Republicans who aren’t wealthy enough to donate but will show up to vote in the primary. They also might mean that Kemp is at a serious spending disadvantage and might find it difficult to compete on the airwaves.

For the Democrats, the major takeaway was that relatively unknown state Rep. Stacey Evans may be able to compete with the now former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in fundraising. While Abrams raised $550,000 to Evans’ $420,000, Evans received a greater share of her donations from inside the state (87 percent for Evans versus about 50 percent for Abrams¬†according to the AJC) and she collected most of her money in a shorter time frame. Plus, she might dip into some of her personal wealth that came from settling a $495 million whistleblower lawsuit in 2015. If she uses her money to raise her name ID and continues to promote the message we saw in the 16 Homes video, Evans may stand a chance in the primary. That said, Abrams will be able to draw on a national Democratic network and will likely use her considerable political skills to boost minority turnout. As the first black woman to make a serious bid for governor, I wouldn’t underestimate her appeal in a primary electorate where 33 percent of voters were black females in the last major election.

That was my take on some of the fundraising numbers out so far. Here are some stats for each candidate that came from an analysis of the report:

Republican candidates:

Lt.  Gov. Casey Cagle

Total cash and in-kind contributions received: $2,705,249.46

Itemized donors: 1082

Non-itemized portion of cash: $17,381.13

Donors who maxed out at $6,600: 193

Percent of cash coming from donations over $1,000: 93.6%

 

Secretary of State Brian Kemp

Total cash and in-kind contributions received: $1,711,385.69

Itemized donors: 1242

Non-itemized portion of cash: $27,414

Donors who maxed out at $6,600: 76

Percent of cash coming from donations over $1,000: 86.8%

 

State Senator Hunter Hill (6)

Total cash and in-kind contributions received: $1,150,506.60

Itemized donors: 769

Non-itemized portion of cash: None reported

Donors who maxed out at $6,600: 83

Percent of cash coming from donations over $1,000: 90.9%

 

State Senator Michael Williams (27)

Total cash and in-kind contributions received: $1,051,404*

Itemized donors: 267

Non-itemized portion of cash: None reported

Donors who maxed out at $6,600: 1

Percent of cash coming from donations over $1,000: 74.5%

*Includes $1 million loan

 

Democratic candidates:

State Representative Stacey Abrams (89)

Total cash and in-kind contributions received: $549,717.96

Itemized donors: 500

Non-itemized portion of cash: $67,887.27

Donors who maxed out at $6,600: 28

Percent of cash coming from donations over $1,000: 72.9%

 

State Representative Stacey Evans (42)

Total cash and in-kind contributions received: $422,334.30*

Itemized donors: 380

Non-itemized portion of cash: $20,211

Donors who maxed out at $6,600: 22

Percent of cash coming from donations over $1,000: 74.0 percent

*Includes $3,254.94 in loans

 

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