Kemp reloads campaign account with an eye on Abrams and Perdue

Gov. Brian Kemp is quickly building up his campaign coffers as he prepares for a potential rematch against Democrat Stacey Abrams – and the possibility of a brutal GOP primary challenge from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

Kemp won’t face another finance disclosure requirement until early next year, but his campaign on Thursday released figures to the AJC that showed the Republican has raised more than $4 million since July 1. He boasts nearly $13 million in cash on hand between his campaign and an affiliated PAC.

The decision to disclose the figures shows how seriously Kemp’s campaign is taking the threat of a Perdue challenge. His allies have warned there would be a “scorched earth” campaign if the ex-U.S. senator runs that could irrevocably split the GOP this cycle and cripple the chances of defeating Abrams.

Perdue’s allies continue to say he’s yet to cement his decision and that he remains conflicted about a run, though they note he’s been in steady contact with former President Donald Trump, who would presumably endorse Perdue if he entered the race. Trump has waged a vendetta against Kemp because he refused to illegally overturn his November 2020 defeat in Georgia.

Kemp has become a formidable fundraising force over his three years in office. As of June 30, the last time he was required by law to disclose his finances, he reported raising nearly $12 million overall for his reelection bid and about $9.2 million in cash on hand. That was a record amount at this stage in a gubernatorial contest.

And he recently signed into law a Republican-backed measure that allows him and a few legislative leaders to collect unlimited contributions from donors.

His two potential foes also have little problem raising cash. Abrams set fundraising records during her failed 2018 campaign for governor, then started the Fair Fight political organization that has raised more than $100 million since its launch.

And Perdue amassed more than $100 million during his re-election bid, part of a tandem of contests that established new national spending records and decided control of the U.S. Senate. Democrats swept both of the January runoffs, ousting Perdue and Republican Kelly Loeffler from office.