Deadline day: Georgia candidates hit a key fundraising mark

Stacey Abrams invoked Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Sarah Riggs Amico's husband made a last-ditch request. And U.S. Rep. Karen Handel brought up her favorite punching bag.

The end of September brought the most important fundraising deadline yet in the race for top Georgia offices, as candidates scrambled to put the finishing touches on their third-quarter financial reports.

Over the next week or so, the details of their fundraising hauls from July 1 to Sept. 30 will trickle out and send a message to voters, donors and party officials in Atlanta and Washington about the strength of their campaigns in the final stretch of the race.

In the governor's race, already the most expensive gubernatorial contest in state history, Abrams and Brian Kemp appealed to their party's bases for a new infusion of cash.

Kemp's pleas to his Republican supporters over the weekend highlighted his conservative policies and branded Abrams "too extreme for Georgia." And Abrams seized on the fraught hearings involving Kavanaugh, who has angrily denied accusations of sexual assault.

“While I don't get to vote on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, I will not allow myself to feel powerless,” she wrote to donors, asking them to help her “build a Georgia where everyone is respected and treated with dignity.”

Down the ballot, candidates angled for some pre-deadline help. Amico’s husband Andrea sent an email to prospective supporters of her Democratic campaign for lieutenant governor with a picture of the smiling family and a request to help his wife “make a strong showing going into October!”

And Handel, who faces Democrat Lucy McBath in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, warned Republicans that missing her campaign’s fundraising goal would put the GOP majority in the U.S. House and the nation’s progress “in immense danger.”

“Nancy Pelosi has already said that she’s willing to do anything to take back the Speaker’s gavel,” her fundraising plea read of the polarizing House Democratic leader.

“We need you to help us meet our fundraising deadline tonight, or we will hand Pelosi momentum at the worst possible time.”

Don't expect the rhetoric to cool off. The next major fundraising deadline falls on Oct. 25 – less than two weeks before the election.