Democrat Raphael Warnock will report raising more than $12.8 million over the last three months of his campaign to oust U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a wild special election that will almost certainly stretch into next year.
Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, has collected more than $17 million from 500,000 separate contributions since entering the race this year.
It’s not immediately clear how much cash on hand the first-time candidate will report after the three-month period, which spans from July to September. In previous filings, he’s outraised both Loeffler, who is self-financing her campaign, and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, her most formidable Republican rival.
Since no one in the 21-candidate field is likely to win more than 50% of the vote, a January showdown between the two top finishers is expected.
About the Senate special election
The November special election for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat features 21 candidates on the same ballot with no party primary to filter out nominees.
If no one gets a majority of the vote – all but certain given the number of candidates - the two top finishers will square off in a January runoff.
Because of the dynamics, it means there’s likely to be one Republican and one Democrat in January matchup. U.S. Rep. Doug Collins is Loeffler’s most formidable GOP challenger, and polls show them in a close race. Raphael Warnock is the establishment-backed Democrat, though he faces competition from educator Matt Lieberman and former federal prosecutor Ed Tarver from his party’s base.
The race is separate from Georgia’s other U.S. Senate contest. Republican David Perdue, who is seeking a second term in office, faces Democrat Jon Ossoff and Libertarian Shane Hazel. That race, too could head to a runoff.
For much of the race, Warnock had struggled to distance himself from fellow Democrat Matt Lieberman in the messy contest. But recent polls show him edging away from the pack, including a Quinnipiac survey this week that pegged Warnock as the frontrunner.
Lieberman, whose father Joe is a former vice presidential nominee, has come under extraordinary pressure from across the Democratic spectrum to abandon the race and give Warnock a clear shot at a runoff that could decide control of the U.S. Senate.
Lieberman has rejected those overtures as Warnock has consolidates his party’s support. In the last week alone, Warnock nabbed endorsements from two former presidents – Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.