Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Georgia 2018: Democrat Abrams nets $500K in governor bid

Former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams raised about $540,000 for her campaign for Georgia governor. But her campaign pointed as much to another number on her report: She netted donations from 3,000 contributors, and half were under $25.

Abrams, who formally entered the race in early June, has received a flood of national attention for her run. She would be the first black governor in Georgia – and the first black female governor in the nation.

The Democrat has sought early funding from national sources, including a New York fundraiser hosted by Alexander Soros, the son of billionaire Democratic mega-donor George Soros. The Soros family gave her about $60,000 of her total, and more than half of her donors came from out of state.

The Democrat's campaign said in a statement that she has spent the opening weeks hiring staff, traveling the state and building a get-out-the-vote effort. Her financial report shows she has spent more than half of her warchest - about $320,000 - on expenses. Roughly $120,000 was spent on staff salary and travel costs.

Her supporters are confident she'll be able to tap into enough new fundraisers to float those costs. She sports endorsements from several prominent groups, including Democracy for America, Emily's List and several local unions who plan to marshal their resources behind her campaign.

Abrams faces state Rep. Stacey Evans, a Smyrna Democrat who has made improving the HOPE scholarship the centerpiece of her campaign, in next year’s primary. Evans, who is expected to dip into her own wallet to help finance the campaign, has yet to report her financial figures.

Four Republicans are in the race: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sens. Hunter Hill and Michael Williams. Cagle reported raising more than $2.7 million, while Kemp netted about $1.7 million. Hill said he topped the $1 million mark.

The fundraising figures are an important early gauge of a candidate’s strength, and they’re watched closely by activists and donors who have yet to pick a side in the race.

Read more on MyAJC: How Trump is shaking up the governor’s race

And: Georgia governor race: Who is running in 2018

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.