They don’t have the eye-popping financial figures that Jon Ossoff boasted, but the Democratic challengers following in his footsteps have collected six-figure hauls as they gear up to challenge Republican Karen Handel.
Bobby Kaple, a former Atlanta TV anchor, said he’s raised about $255,000 since he entered the race in mid-October through the end of the year. He did not yet report how much cash he has on hand.
And another political newcomer, businessman Kevin Abel, raised $200,000 since he jumped in the contest in late October. He also contributed about $50,000 of his own cash to the campaign. His cash on hand was also not immediately available.
Ossoff, who raised about $30 million, still hasn’t said whether he’s running again this year, though he’s dropped hints that he might run and has recently met with state legislative candidates and party officials about how he can help with other races.
Kaple, who recently hired veteran operative Peter Dougherty to manage his campaign, said his fundraising shows the district “is eager to replace Karen Handel with someone who represents our community and not special interests.”
The race to represent the 6th district, which stretches from north DeKalb to east Cobb, became one of the nation’s premier political contests last year when longtime Rep. Tom Price resigned to join Donald Trump’s cabinet.
The contest wound up being the most expensive U.S. House race ever, a roughly $60 million fight fueled by powerful outside groups and out-of-state donations from contributors who saw it as an early test of Trump’s popularity in conservative-tilting suburbs.
Ossoff shattered fundraising records by raising $30 million only to lose the June runoff to Handel by 4 points. Handel, who has not yet reported her latest cash haul, has become something of a Republican model for wining in the Trump era.
Politico reported that Handel appeared Wednesday at a closed-door meeting with GOP candidates to discuss how she won. Among her tidbits: “The biggest thing is to be prepared.”