Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, the Republican incumbent, raised about 40 cents for every $1 that rival Democrat Stacey Abrams raised mainly from February through June 2022, according to filings under a new rule that bypasses state donation caps.

The two candidates will benefit from roughly $55 million raised by four entities over just about five months.

Abrams’ haul in that period is about $40 million. She has her old-fashioned campaign fund, under rules that limit donations to $9,200 from any one donor, depending on how many rounds are in an election.

But she, like Kemp, also benefits from having a new-fangled “leadership” committee, the creature of a new state law. Those committees can accept unlimited money from any donor.

But campaigning takes money – and media air time will only get more pricey as November Election Day nears. In March, it already cost $200,000 to buy about 430 one-minute radio ads during Atlanta’s afternoon rush hour.  

Meanwhile, the job Kemp and Abrams both want pays only $175,000.

Fundraising versus fund-spending and fund-regulating

● = $100,000

430 one-minute Atlanta radio ads in March, afternoon drive time: $200,000

2 dots representing $200,000

A text to every Georgian, at $0.085 per text: $917,963

9 dots representing $917k

Kemp’s Georgians First Leadership Committee has raised $5.3 million since it opened in August. The biggest single donation (in pink) was $1.4 sent from Kemp’s traditional campaign fund to this committee.

53 dots representing Kemps Georgians First fundraising
Aug. 2021-June 2022.

Kemp traditional campaign fund: $10.2 million

102 dots representing kemps traditional fundraising of $10.2 million
Feb-June 2022

At $2.5 million each, two donors tied for biggest benefactor to Abrams’ One Georgia leadership committee, each shown here in lighter blue. Both are longtime political megadonors: Karla Jurveston, a Bay Area psychiatrist; and the “Democracy PAC II,” funded by financier George Soros. Total reported receipts come to near $19 million.

190 dots reperesenting fundraising by Abrams' One Georgia leadership committee
Feb-June 2022

Abrams traditional campaign fund: $21.2 million

212 dots represetning 21.2 million in fundraising by Abrams' traditional campaign
Feb-June 2022

This also an election year for most state offices as well as some local jobs like school board members, so there are a lot of dollars in play. Paperwork for some  1,100 candidates for offices from those top races all the way down to county-level district attorneys and judges has been published by the state campaign finance agency.

The headline fundraising total for all 2022 campaigns, including Kemp and Abrams on down to judges and district attorneys, is approaching $180 million, counting cash to campaign accounts, leadership committees, parties and political action committees.

That’s so much money, it’ll take two lines of a chart to show its scale.
This contributions reported received by all 2022 candidates: $83.7 million

837 dots representing $83.7 million in fundraising by all 2022 georgia candidates' traditional campaign funds
Numbers cover various candidate starting dates, mainly in 2021, through June 2022.

… And this is all contributions reported by the other various entities that can collect money and spend it on politics, like leadership committees, political action committees and parties. Because this money can get regifted, it’s hard to say how much might be counted twice: $97 million

970 dots represeting $97 million in donations reported by other various entities for the 2022 election cycle
Numbers cover various candidate starting dates, mainly in 2021, through June 2022.

The state agency that’s in charge of making sure all these folks and their dollars follow the rules — the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission — has a budget of just under $3 million.

30 dots represetning the $3 million budget of the georgia ethics commission

Governor’s salary: $175,000

2 dots represnting the governor's salary of $175k

Sources | Radio: average of March PM drive time rates from Star 94, WAOK, V-103 and 92.9 rate cards | All campaign finance numbers via Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission | Finance Commission budget per FY 2023 appropriations bill | Governor’s salary per O.C.G.A. § 45-7-4

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