Candidates vying for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat from Georgia hauled in big fundraising dollars down the home stretch ahead of the Nov. 3 special election.
Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic frontrunner who is the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, continued his impressive fundraising run with nearly $13 million between July and September, leaving his campaign with roughly $6.5 million on hand for the race’s final weeks.
The large influx of cash for Warnock came as Loeffler and her Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, have duked it out for a larger share of Georgia conservative voters in a crowded race.
Loeffler, a wealthy Atlanta businesswoman who formerly worked for and whose husband owns the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange, pumped another $5 million of her own money into her campaign war chest during the July-September fundraising period.
That most recent boost upped her personal loans in the campaign to $20 million, marking a huge amount that has allowed her to launch searing ads against Collins. Loeffler also raised around $2 million in donations, leaving her campaign with nearly $7.2 million.
Loeffler’s campaign has also benefitted from ads launched by a political action committee with ties to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who appointed Loeffler last December to hold retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat until the special election.
That group, called Georgia United Victory, raised nearly $10 million dollars in the July-September cycle with more than half of that amount donated by Loeffler’s husband, Intercontinental Exchange Inc. CEO Jeffrey Sprecher.
Collins, the U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain who has attacked Loeffler for her use of wealth in the campaign, raised nearly $2.3 million this fundraising quarter. That leaves him with about $2.4 million to battle Loeffler for enough votes to reach a likely runoff against Warnock in January.
Meanwhile, educator and health-care consultant Matt Lieberman raised nearly $2.6 million since July to stock his campaign with roughly $2.3 million down the home stretch. Lieberman has faced routine calls to drop out of the race as Warnock steams ahead in endorsements, fundraising and polling.
The special election format required by Isakson’s retirement has prompted around 20 candidates including Loeffler to compete on the same ballot on Nov. 3. If no candidate gains more than 50% of the vote, a runoff will be held in January between the top two finishers.