Political Insider

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Handel’s Dem opponent announces major fundraising bump


The campaign of Lucy McBath said the Democrat will report raising nearly $1 million this summer, a relatively large sum for her quest to unseat U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. 

The campaign said McBath raised $962,000 between July 5 and September 30. That’s the largest single-quarter fundraising haul from any 6th District candidate since last year’s special election, and it’s roughly three times more than McBath raised during her first four months in the contest. 

The money came from roughly 26,500 individual donors, many of them small, the campaign said, although it declined disclose how much came from inside the state. It said it had slightly more than $700,000 in the bank going into October. 

Fundraising is not everything in a congressional race, but it certainly helps. It’s particularly crucial for bankrolling television ads in Atlanta’s pricey media market, which has been made more expensive lately due to demand from the gubernatorial contest. 

Advertising will be a major priority for McBath as she looks to define herself during the final four weeks of the race. Her own internal poll showed that roughly two-thirds of voters in the Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton-based district could not identify her, compared with Handel’s near-universal name recognition following last year’s ubiquitous special election.

McBath spokesman Jake Orvis said the campaign plans to use the new money “to continue telling Lucy’s story and making clear her vision for the district.” 

“Our plan includes expanding our robust field program, building on our community outreach through GA-06, and communicating with voters on a variety of traditional and non-traditional mediums,” he said. 

McBath unveiled her first network television ad last week. The 30-second spot recounts the death of her teenage son and McBath’s positions on health care and middle class tax cuts but avoids gun control, her signature issue

Outside groups may help pick up the slack on that issue. The political arm of the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety poured $1.2 million into helping its former surrogate secure the Democratic nomination earlier this year, a connection that has prompted questions from Handel and one of McBath’s former Democratic opponents. 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of Everytown’s largest financiers, recently announced plans fund more advertising in the race, and House Democrats’ campaign arm has also ramped up its support. McBath also received fundraising help this summer from Hillary Clinton, a connection that Handel has also attacked

Handel has used her first two ads to focus on her own legislative accomplishments, but she’s also recently dialed up efforts to define McBath as a tax dodger and occasional 6th District resident.

The Roswell Republican has yet to release her own new fundraising numbers, although she spent much of the spring and early summer building up her war chest. She ended June with roughly $1 million in the bank

Read more 6th District coverage: 

Do you really live here? Handel recycles Ossoff attack to ding Dem opponent

Democrat’s personal story at center of new ad

Handel ad spotlights ‘right-to-try’ vote

House Dems ramp up investment in 6th District race

Why the House GOP’s campaign chief isn’t sweating Atlanta’s hottest suburban races

Handel, Woodall try to focus campaigns on themselves instead of Trump

In Georgia, Republican women try to navigate Trump era


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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.