Kemp amasses nearly $7M in latest fundraising period

Gov. Brian Kemp collected roughly $6.8 million between May 1 and June 30 as he prepares for a tough rematch against Democrat Stacey Abrams.

The Republican’s campaign said Wednesday it collected roughly $3.8 million in campaign contributions along with another $3 million through a leadership committee, a new financial vehicle created by a Republican-backed state law that can accept unlimited donations.

Kemp will report about $7 million in cash on hand, which includes $6.4 million from his campaign account and another $650,000 from the leadership committee.

A judge’s ruling that blocked the committee from raising cash until the GOP gubernatorial nomination was decided in late May temporarily eliminated what had been a major advantage that Republican allies had carved out for him.

Abrams hasn’t yet reported her latest financial disclosure. She raised $11.7 million in the three-month span between February and April, ending the reporting period with more than $8 million in the bank. She collected contributions from more than 187,000 donors.

In all, Abrams has raised more than $20 million since entering the race in December — and collected millions of dollars more through her leadership committee.

The fundraising disclosures that emerge in the next few weeks will help paint a clearer financial picture of where the marquee races in Georgia stand. Here’s a closer look at what else we’re watching:

Democratic edge: Despite a late start, Abrams has already neutralized Kemp’s financial lead, and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock has cemented himself as one of the nation’s elite fundraisers. Democrats are almost certain to extend their fundraising edge this quarter.

Burn rate: Abrams spent roughly 90% of the money she collected in the three-month span between February and April, reflecting a confidence that she can keep up the torrid fundraising pace even though she ran unopposed in the May primary.

A media buyer calculated that Abrams has already spent $15.5 million on digital, radio and TV ads while Warnock has spent roughly $16 million. Both are expected to be so flush with cash they can stay on air through November. Will they maintain their high rate of spending?

Fifty-state strategy: Gone are the days when Georgia Republicans can paint Democrats as the only beneficiaries of out-of-state interests. As Georgia emerges as a premier battleground state, Republicans are also embracing a national fundraising strategy. GOP senate hopeful Herschel Walker epitomizes the trend: He boasted last year of collecting contributions from donors in all 50 states – Alaska included.

A new model: We should get a clearer look at the impact of so-called “leadership committees,” the Kemp-backed fundraising vehicles that allow certain candidates to raise unlimited donations and coordinate with campaigns.

While the system was designed to boost Kemp, it could prove to be an inadvertent boon for Abrams, too. Case in point: Democratic megadonor George Soros has already contributed $2.5 million to Abrams’ leadership committee since mid-March.