CLEVELAND – Democrat Jim Barksdale has pumped $3.1 million of his personal fortune into his campaign to oust U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, but has raised less than $100,000 in outside contributions since he entered the race in March.
The fundraising reports obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show that the Atlanta investment banker is willing to dig deep into his own bank account to challenge Isakson, but also that he continues to struggle mightily to raise outside cash. He has nearly $1.6 million in cash on hand, and his campaign said it “will continue to have the resources to run a competitive campaign.”
He’s facing an uphill battle against Isakson, a two-term Republican who has amassed roughly $5.7 million in his campaign coffers. He said this week he raised about $900,000 in the second quarter of the year, compared to about $50,000 raised by Barksdale over the same period.
Barksdale, a political newcomer, has so far waged a quiet campaign. He has little name recognition and tepid support from some top state Democrats. But his campaign hopes his fat wallet – and unrest over Donald Trump at the top of the ticket – can be the great equalizer. Barksdale’s campaign has already spent more than $1.4 million, including two rounds of introductory ads earlier this year, and recently hired additional staff members. He’s set to be in Philadelphia next week to court more Democratic leaders.
Isakson, meanwhile, said he’s leaving nothing to chance. He swung by Cleveland this week for a meeting with Republican officials before jetting to Chicago for a fundraiser, and he’s launching a statewide fly-around next week.
Both also face Libertarian Allen Buckley, who hopes conservative skeptics of Trump flee the GOP and vote for a third party candidate.