Duncan, Senate GOP Capitol money committees spend over $1 million on late mail push

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan's fundraising committee, Advance Georgia, has raised $1.5 million to support Republican state senators and GOP candidates to ensure the party continues to hold its majority in the state Senate. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan's fundraising committee, Advance Georgia, has raised $1.5 million to support Republican state senators and GOP candidates to ensure the party continues to hold its majority in the state Senate. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan created a fundraising committee last year to help Republican senators and candidates win this November, and the group is spending big in the campaign’s final days.

Reports filed this week show Advance Georgia has raised about $1.5 million, mostly from lobby groups and companies interested in state legislation and funding. It has spent about $600,000 in recent weeks, including more than $400,000 on campaign mailers.

A similar fund run by Republican senators spent almost $700,000 on mailers in recent weeks.

Both committees raise almost all their money from the same people, big Capitol donors used to giving huge checks to politicians who run the Statehouse.

In reports filed Tuesday, Advance Georgia disclosed that the donations it has received since Sept. 30 have included:

  • $50,000 from a Washington-based U.S. Senate Republican political committee.
  • $30,000 from nursing home giant United Health Services.
  • $25,000 from a St. Louis company that runs a massive state health insurance plan for children.
  • $25,000 from Georgia Power.
  • $25,000 from the Georgia Highway Contractors lobby.
  • $15,000 from a Reno, Nevada, sports betting business.
  • $10,000 from a doctors’ medical malpractice insurance company.
  • $10,000 from a lobby group for Realtors.
  • $10,000 from a lobby group for bail bondsmen.

Many of them are repeat donors: The Realtors lobby, for instance, has given $60,000 to Advance Georgia since its inception, while Georgia Power has donated $50,000 and the highway contractors have contributed $40,000, according to a review of disclosures by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Duncan, the Senate’s president, is working to maintain the Republican majority in his chamber. Republicans currently hold a 35-21 advantage over the Democrats in the Senate.

Direct-mail pieces have flooded into the mailboxes of Georgians in recent weeks.

Direct-mail “hit pieces" by an “independent” group late in his 2018 Republican runoff race against former Senate President Pro-Tem David Shafer were credited with helping Duncan win the party’s nomination.

The group, largely funded by a dark money political action committee to hide the identity of donors, spent more than $500,000 on mailings, much of it just before the runoff.

The latest mail push by Advance Georgia and the Senate leadership’s committees has more than doubled that expenditure.

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