TV tally: Georgia gov candidates spend more than $12M on campaign ads

The leading candidates in this year’s race for governor in Georgia are (top row, from left) Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, former House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former Republican state Sen. Hunter Hill, (bottom row, from right) Republican businessman Clay Tippins, former Democratic state Rep. Stacey Evans and Republican state Sen. Michael Williams.
Caption
The leading candidates in this year’s race for governor in Georgia are (top row, from left) Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, former House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, former Republican state Sen. Hunter Hill, (bottom row, from right) Republican businessman Clay Tippins, former Democratic state Rep. Stacey Evans and Republican state Sen. Michael Williams.

The seven candidates for Georgia governor have poured more than $12.7 million into a burst of TV and radio ads ahead of next week's primary. And there's more to come as the contenders dig deeper into war chests totaling more than $22 million.

The biggest spender, by far, is Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. The Republican front-runner has spent more than $4.3 million on ads touting his education and economic agenda. He’s been bolstered by $1 million more from Citizens for Georgia’s Future, a pro-Cagle outside group.

Stacey Evans snapped up the most airtime of either Democrat, spending at least $1.3 million through the weekend, according to an analysis conducted by Strategic Media Services.

Her rival, former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, has spent a relatively meager $500,000 on ads, and records show she wasn’t on air in metro Atlanta during stretches of April and May.

Her campaign has focused on grass-roots engagement of voters, and she’s said traditional TV-focused advertising is no longer as effective as it once was.

But she can afford the hands-off approach thanks to plenty of backup from third-party groups. BlackPAC, PowerPAC Georgia and Emily’s List combined to spend nearly $2 million boosting her campaign, giving Abrams air cover the last two months of the race.

On the Republican front, Secretary of State Brian Kemp has now spent more than $1.5 million on airtime, steadily increasing his buys to pair with attention-grabbing ads. Two other rivals, former state Sen. Hunter Hill and executive Clay Tippins, have spent about $1 million each.

A fifth candidate, state Sen. Michael Williams, is also in the race.

In all, about $9.1 million was spent on ads for the Republican campaigns, while Democrats have shelled out more than $3.6 million.

Read more recent AJC coverage of the campaign for governor:

ExploreShifting political ground pushes Georgia candidates away from center 
ExploreAbrams, Evans sharpen attacks over HOPE in gov forum 
ExploreGeorgia 2018: Evans bets on gambling as new divide in gov race 
ExploreAbrams banks on debt as advantage in final stretch of gov race 
ExploreBrian Kemp: His pitch to conservatives leans hard on law and order 
ExploreClay Tippins: Executive aims to send waves through governor’s race 
ExploreMichael Williams: Senator has been Trump backer with similar tactics 
ExploreWhy Georgia Republicans are shifting to the right on guns 
ExploreHunter Hill: Military vet wages running war on ‘career politicians’ 
ExploreCasey Cagle: A GOP favorite tries to fend off conservative attack 
ExploreHow Gov. Deal is shaping the race to succeed him 

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