Attorney General Chris Carr raised nearly $250,000 in the two months since he was appointed the state’s top attorney with the help of corporate powers, establishment Republicans and at least one potential adversary.
Facing a potential 2018 challenge from his right flank, Carr has quickly tried to build up a campaign war chest since he replaced Sam Olens on Nov. 1. One of the first donations he received was a $1,000 check from Sen. Johnny Isakson, his mentor and former boss.
His donors include some outspoken opponents of the “religious liberty” measure that dominated statehouse debate last year. The measure’s top supporter, Republican state Sen. Josh McKoon, is not seeking another term in the Legislature and is considered a likely candidate for Carr’s job.
Georgia Power and its executives pumped nearly $10,000 into his campaign, and the Alston & Bird law firm, the Altria tobacco and food giant and several leaders of the Georgia Wholesale Co. beer distributor each maxed out with $6,600 campaign contributions.
So did former state Rep. BJ Pak, an ex-federal prosecutor who was considering a campaign for Attorney General before Carr’s appointment. He shifted $6,600 from a legislative campaign account to Carr, and several attorneys in his law firm ponied up as well.
One of them is Doug Chalmers, who is representing former Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine in a case involving ethics charges that is being handled by Carr’s office.
Carr’s retinue of donors also includes lobbyist Brad Alexander, former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Southern Co. executive Hank Linginfelter and Intercontinental Exchange chief executive Jeff Sprecher.
Several current and former state legislators dug into their pockets for his campaign, including state Rep. Christian Coomer and former state Sen. Charlie Bethel. The Dalton attorney shifted $6,000 from two accounts to Carr on Nov. 8 – the day before he was tapped as a state appeals court judge.
Other statewide officials filed campaign disclosures this week, and most have kept a stockpile of campaign cash as they decide whether to run for re-election in 2018.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is considering a bid for governor, has about $134,000 in his campaign account. Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who has yet to decide whether he’ll run for another four-year term, has about $167,000 in cash on hand.
Labor Commissioner Mark Butler tallied about $70,000 remaining in his account, while Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black has $40,000.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle reported about $80,000 in contributions; he is considered an early front-runner in the GOP race to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal.
The governor, who cannot run for a third term, has all but wiped out his campaign coffers. His campaign reported about $25,000 left in his account.