Warnock raises more than $17M in three-month span

Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock raised nearly $17.2 million between April and June. His Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, took in nearly $6.2 million over the same period. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock raised nearly $17.2 million between April and June. His Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, took in nearly $6.2 million over the same period. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Walker collects nearly $7M in same span

Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock set the latest in a string of fundraising records by collecting $17.2 million between April and June, ending the quarter with roughly $22.2 million in the bank for a race that could decide control of the Senate.

Warnock topped his last fundraising haul, which amounted to more than $13.6 million over the first three months of the year. That total was the most money ever raised by any U.S. Senate candidate in the first quarter of an election year.

The disclosure Wednesday also showed the Democrat is aggressively tapping into his coffers as a November matchup with GOP nominee Herschel Walker nears. Warnock has about $3 million less in the bank than he did at the end of the previous quarter.

The Democrat far outpaced Walker, who said he collected nearly $6.2 million over the three-month span and has nearly $7 million in cash on hand. In all, the Republican has raised more than $20 million since he entered the race in August.

Warnock’s campaign said he collected contributions from more than 258,000 individual donors over the three-month period, with an average donation of $37. In all, he’s raised more than $63 million for his reelection bid.

“This haul and the tens of thousands of grassroots donors lining up to support this campaign in record numbers are just the latest sign that Georgians see Rev. Warnock working on their behalf in the U.S. Senate and they are ready to help propel our campaign to victory,” Warnock campaign manager Quentin Fulks said.

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, are both among the leading fundraisers in their parties. Warnock has collected more than $63 million for his reelection bid, and Walker has raised more than $20 million since he entered the race in August.

Credit: AJC

Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, are both among the leading fundraisers in their parties. Warnock has collected more than $63 million for his reelection bid, and Walker has raised more than $20 million since he entered the race in August.

Credit: AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, are both among the leading fundraisers in their parties. Warnock has collected more than $63 million for his reelection bid, and Walker has raised more than $20 million since he entered the race in August.

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

The new figures are only the latest indication that Warnock has become one of the nation’s elite fundraisers, a candidate who can tap both small contributions from grassroots voters and bigger checks from the party’s wealthiest donors.

It also further cements an enormous Democratic fundraising edge in the state’s premier contests, forcing Georgia Republicans who once dominated the race for resources to confront a new political landscape.

In the race for governor, Democrat Stacey Abrams reported last week that she collected more than $22 million over a two-month period, thanks partly to a surge of unlimited donations authorized by a new state law. Gov. Brian Kemp raised about $7 million in the same time period. Even so, the Democrat’s campaign has stressed she’s the underdog in an “uphill battle.”

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, left, and Stacey Abrams, the party's candidate for governor, both hold fundraising edges over their opponents in November.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, left, and Stacey Abrams, the party's candidate for governor, both hold fundraising edges over their opponents in November.

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, left, and Stacey Abrams, the party's candidate for governor, both hold fundraising edges over their opponents in November.

Not so for Warnock, who is leading Walker in most public polls despite a challenging political climate for Democrats fueled by high inflation, volatile energy prices and sagging public support for President Joe Biden.

Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, honed his fundraising skills during the 2020 special election campaign that ended with his victory over incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler and Jon Ossoff’s win against then-U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

Now up for a full six-year term, Warnock essentially never stopped running for office after the Democrats swept the runoffs, which were the most expensive Senate races in the nation’s history.

Republicans quickly pegged him as one of the nation’s most vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents in their quest to regain control of a chamber that’s split 50-50.

But after Walker coasted to an easy GOP primary victory in May, he has confronted new revelations about internal campaign turmoil while making a string of bewildering remarks that raise new questions about his readiness to take office.

The Republican has sought to downplay the mystifying comments, including a confusing critique of “bad air” from China. And his campaign has overhauled its staff amid pressure from national Republicans to steady the ship.

Despite the setbacks, the former football star has emerged as one of the top GOP fundraisers. Like the Democrat, Walker has also aggressively appealed to out-of-state supporters, tapping 70,000 donors in all 50 states in the latest fundraising period. It was his strongest fundraising quarter yet.

“We are so thankful for every single voter, door knocker, volunteer and donor who has worked with our campaign to defeat Raphael Warnock,” Walker said. “Senator Warnock has done more for Joe Biden than Georgia — and that’s why we’ve received donations from Americans in every state.”

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s campaign said he collected contributions from more than 258,000 individual donors between April and June, with an average donation of $37.

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s campaign said he collected contributions from more than 258,000 individual donors between April and June, with an average donation of $37.

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Combined ShapeCaption
Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s campaign said he collected contributions from more than 258,000 individual donors between April and June, with an average donation of $37.

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Warnock, meanwhile, has countered GOP attacks that blame Democrats for the economic uncertainty by focusing his campaign on proposals to suspend the federal gas tax, cap the price of insulin and curb rising prescription drug costs.

Fulks, Warnock’s campaign manager, said voters “know Herschel Walker has spent his campaign misleading the people of Georgia about his record and making bizarre and false claims.”

“While he keeps showing the people of Georgia he isn’t ready to represent them,” Fulks said, “we’ll keep working hard to show the people of Georgia that Reverend Warnock is fighting for them and they have a clear choice this November.”