When the Atlanta Spirit — a group, made up of businessmen from Atlanta, Washington and, for a time, Boston — celebrated its 10th anniversary of owning the Atlanta Hawks earlier this year, there likely wasn’t a party.
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Gov. Nathan Deal’s camp reported Monday raising $84,000 for a total of roughly $3.9 million in campaign cash in the 11 days after the session ended. But what came next was more interesting.
Deal’s campaign figures comes a day after Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter released his totals for the same time period: A $416,000 haul. That gave Carter’s camp a roughly 5-to-1 fundraising edge in the short period after the session’s end. Both Deal and Carter are prohibited by state law from raising campaign cash during the legislative session, which stretched from January to March 20.
Deal campaign spokeswoman Jen Talaber sent us these remarks:
“We followed the rules about not lining up fundraisers during session. Carter for Governor had no such concerns. Our cash on hand advantage allows the governor to dedicate this month to reviewing and signing bills that will benefit the people of Georgia and keep us the No. 1 place to do business.”
She was referring to the campaign tiff that erupted on the last day of the session over a campaign fundraiser that Carter’s campaign arranged featuring his famous grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter. Republicans called foul over the fundraiser, which benefited the Democratic Party of Georgia, claiming that he violated campaign finance rules by promoting the fundraiser before the session gaveled to a close.
Carter’s camp the numbers show that the Atlanta Democrat has “all the momentum in this race.”
“Our campaign has seen an outpouring of grassroots support from people who are tired of the governor’s scandals and are looking for real leadership,” said Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas.
Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington, who was not banned from raising funds during the session, raised about $70,000 through February and March and has about $210,000 on hand for his GOP challenge to Deal.
Superintendent John Barge, another GOP contender who was restricted from raising money during the session, tallied about $12,000 in contributions during the 11-day period and loaned himself about $6,000. He has just under $16,000 in cash on hand.