The Jolt: Raphael Warnock outraises Kelly Loeffler, Doug Collins in U.S. Senate contest



U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins essentially matched each other in fundraising for the first quarter of the year. They were both surpassed, however, by Democrat Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

The two Republican rivals both collected roughly $1.1 million over the first three months of the year, and they traded jabs at each other as they filed their reports.

Meanwhile, Warnock has collected $1.5 million since he entered the race in late January, and he ended the quarter with a warchest of roughly $1.2 million in cash.

The totals mean less for Loeffler, who has promised a self-funded campaign. But her financial supporters include Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, a Republican mega-donor. She also received more than $44,000 in donations from employees of Intercontinental Exchange, the Atlanta-based firm her husband Jeff Sprecher runs. He, too, chipped in $12,200 to her bid.

Among Collins’ donors is Phil Wilheit, the packaging magnate and Gainesville powerbroker, and Ken Cronan, another north Georgia businessman. Both were key backers of Gov. Nathan Deal.

In Georgia’s other U.S. Senate race, David Perdue raised about $1.6 million and amassed $9 million in cash on hand - by far the most of any Georgia candidate. Jon Ossoff led the Democratic field with another $1 million cash haul.

You can read more about here, but here are some other tidbits from the campaign filings:

-- Dr. Rich McCormick, a Republican in the Seventh District congressional race, has lapped the GOP field by raising $230,000 over the first three months of the year. That’s more than double the amount raised by any of primary rivals.

-- Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath extended her financial advantage over Republican Karen Handel, ending the quarter with $2.6 million in her account. Handel, a former congresswoman, reported nearly $1 million in cash on hand.

-- Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico wound up with $280,000 cash in the tank, though a spokesperson for her U.S. Senate campaign (for the Perdue seat) said she’d dip into her wallet to make another “large” contribution after loaning her campaign $750,000 over the last year.


We don't have a subscription, but we're told that these lines are in an analysis by the Cook Political Report -- of U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler's chances of surviving a Nov. 3 bid to keep her seat:

"This race is still favored to stay in GOP hands, and we're keeping it in the Lean Republican column — but it's looking increasingly like it may not be Loeffler that will be the one to keep it there."


The Great America PAC, a pro-Trump national group, formally endorsed U.S. Rep. Doug Collins in his race against U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

Last week, its chairman Ed Rollins wrote an op-ed criticizing Loeffler's stock transactions during the coronavirus pandemic and lending his support to Collins. Now, the PAC's endorsement is official.

That could give Collins a big financial boost as he runs against Loeffler, who has already given her campaign $10 million and said she could spend $20 million or more. By comparison, Collins' currently has about $2.2 million in his campaign account.

The Great America PAC has spent $40 million supporting conservative candidates over the past several years, starting out with Trump and branching out to others running for the U.S. Senate.


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Already posted: More Georgia voters are planning to vote by mail than ever before, with 395,000 people having requested absentee ballots so far for the June 9 primary, according to our AJC colleague Mark Niesse. By comparison:

About half as many people, 220,000, voted absentee in the 2018 election for governor. There were almost 203,000 absentee ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election.


Georgia State University fiscal researchers say the state and local governments could see up to a $1.27 billion loss in sales tax revenue from key sectors of the economy this year because of the coronavirus shutdown and its aftermath, according to our AJC colleague James Salzer:

That's not good news for local governments and the state, which will have to figure out how to provide services, educate the state's public school students and pay hundreds of thousands of employees with less money because of the shutdown and expected recession brought on by the pandemic.


The ACLU of Georgia is urging the state Board of Pardons and Parole to expedite its review of all persons in state custody who are over the age of 62. Specifically, the organization – backed by its national headquarters – cited the case of two individuals who are well into the age of significant risk for serious complications and mortality from COVID-19.

Both men also have disabilities that further increase their likelihood of complications and death from the virus. Each has family support and homes to which they can return. Read the entire letter here.


On Wednesday morning, the airwaves were filled with the unprecedented news that President Donald Trump's name would appear on "Economic Impact Payment" checks send to individual Americans as part of the $2 trillion rescue package.

Only those without direct deposit will see it. Trump denied having a hand in the move, which you are free to believe if it suits you. In his evening session with reporters, the president portrayed the situation as a delightful coincidence: “I’m sure people will be very happy to get a big, fat, beautiful check and my name is on it,”

One veteran Democrat sent over a quick note about the affair. “For some reason the concept of Marvin Griffin and BBQ comes to mind,” he wrote.

Griffin was the last "medicine show-style" politician of his age, according to his biographer, Scott Buchanan. He was governor of Georgia at the height of the fight over integration in the 1950s, and attempted a comeback in 1962 – but was defeated by Carl Sanders.

As he left the stage, Griffin was alleged to have muttered: “Some of the people who ate my barbecue didn’t vote for me.”

Translation: The trouble with voters is that so many of them just won’t stay bought.


Speaking of history: If you're at loose ends during this shelter-in-place pandemic, the Georgia Historical Society has an assignment for you:

GHS has announced the creation of a collection of primary sources from across Georgia relating to the pandemic. For this initiative GHS invites the public to share their stories, documents, photographs, journals, artwork and other materials related to this unprecedented time in our history. Contributions can be submitted using an online form available by visiting this link.

The COVID-19 Collection will be a permanent collection and be made available to researchers once processed and cataloged. Some items may be used now and in the future for online exhibits and social media campaigns.


Via CNN: Georgia Power says at least 42 workers have tested positive for coronavirus at a construction site in Waynesboro, Ga., where two new nuclear units are being built. Test results for 57 workers have still to come in.


Executives of several Atlanta-based companies were tapped by President Donald Trump to join advisory groups that will help develop policies to re-open the country and get its economy back on track.

Representatives from Coca-Cola, Waffle House, Home Depot, UPS, Chick-fil-a, Southern Company and Inspire Brands were all listed as members of one of the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups.

But the question is: Did they know in advance what they were getting themselves into? The Daily Beast reported that many of these business leaders only thought they were participating in a conference call Wednesday and had no idea they had been included on the list of advisory board members:

Trump proudly touted his "Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups" during a White House press briefing in the Rose Garden on Tuesday night. And yet, many of the listed names and companies did not learn of their new, supposed advisory roles until the president read their names on live TV, or until after the White House published the full list. Others said they hadn't even committed to working with the Trump administration on this, and only agreed to take a phone call from the White House to see if the effort was worthwhile or just for show.


The U.S. Homeland Security Department, reacting to what it called an "unprecedented crisis," will allow farmers facing delays in getting approval for petitions for foreign agricultural labor to hire farmworkers holding H-2A visas and already in the United States, according to the Associated Press.

How many farmers this will help is unknown, but Georgia uses more H-2A workers than any state in the nation. From the AP:

The temporary final rule announced Wednesday comes after mounting pressure from agriculture groups for access to H-2A workers primarily to plant and harvest fruits and vegetables. The organizations said farmers might find themselves short-handed as the State Department maintains COVID-19 protections, such as social distancing, for embassy staff as it reviews new and returning H-2A applicants.

…H-2A workers nearing the expiration of their three-year visas would be allowed to remain in the United States if hired under a new contract.


We told you earlier this week that the Georgia GOP had canceled its May 29-30 state convention, as well as this Saturday's congressional district gatherings. Both were to be crucial venues to select the 76 delegates (and like number of alternates) to the Republican National Convention in August.

On Monday, the state GOP executive committee held a two-hour telephonic meeting to hash out an alternate process for choosing who will make the trip to Charlotte (if the presidential nominating convention is actually held).

Bottom line: 42 delegates (and alternates) will be selected by committees established by the chairs of GOP congressional districts, and 31 (plus alternates) will be elected by the state executive committee. Three more will attend by virtue of their positions as members of the Republican National Committee and chairman of the Georgia GOP.

Details can be found below in this missive sent out Wednesday by David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia GOP:

With respect to the election of the Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the National Convention from the Congressional Districts, the fourteen Congressional District Chairmen - all of whom are members of the State Executive Committee - requested that the power to elect these Delegates be transferred from the Congressional District Convention to the Congressional District Committee. This request was approved by the State Executive Committee. Accordingly, the Congressional District Conventions scheduled for Saturday, April 18 are cancelled. Each Congressional District Chairman will call a meeting of the Congressional District Committee to be held between Saturday, May 2 and Saturday, May 9 to receive the reports of the District Nominating Committees and elect the Delegates and Alternates of the State Convention. The Congressional District Committee meetings will likely be held by telephone conference call or similar electronic means.

Following the format requested by the Congressional District Chairmen regarding the election of Delegates and Alternates from the Congressional Districts, the State Executive Committee also approved plans to allow the State Committee to elect the at large Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the National Convention. Candidates for Delegate and Alternate Delegate who are not elected by the Congressional District Committees will automatically be considered by the State Nominating Committee. Former State Senator Josh McKoon will chair the State Nominating Committee.

Similarly, the State Committee will also elect the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman.

The deadline to give notice as a candidate for Delegate or Alternate Delegate to the National Convention has passed. The deadline to give notice as a candidate for National Committeeman and National Committeewoman is Monday, April 20. Notice should be directed to the Secretary of the Georgia Republican Party at the State Headquarters.