Atlanta mayoral candidates face fundraising test

Atlanta mayoral candidates at the Buckhead Coalition. File.

Atlanta mayoral candidates at the Buckhead Coalition. File.

The top candidates for Atlanta mayor face a key test this week with a campaign finance deadline that could show which contenders have enough fundraising firepower to stay in the crowded contest.

Political newcomer Peter Aman, the former city chief operating officer, showed he’s willing to dig deep in his wallet in a campaign filing report filed Wednesday. He raised about $515,000 since jumping in the race in April – and matched that sum with a loan from his own account.

“The investment is a show of commitment,” said Aman, who reports nearly $800,000 in cash on hand. “It allows me to compete with elected officials who have spent years building fundraising machines. And it shows voters that I am willing to put skin in the game.”

Former city council president Cathy Woolard’s report showed her campaign has raised nearly $600,000 since entering the race and has $285,000 cash on hand. More than 1,300 donors contributed to his campaign.

“We will have more than enough funds to communicate with voters and to run an effective, winning campaign,” said Woolard.

Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell’s campaign said he raised a total of $1.26 million, while councilwoman Mary Norwood said she raked in about $400,000 in the first 100 or so days.

The campaign finance reports are due this week and have been trickling in. On Tuesday, state Sen. Vincent Fort reported raising nearly $250,000 in the six weeks since he announced his Atlanta mayoral bid, thanks in part to support from Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Several other candidates also highlighted their returns. Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms reported raising about $400,000, thanks in part to a fundraiser hosted by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (he has said that event wasn’t a formal endorsement). She has roughly the same amount of cash on hand.

Councilman Kwanza Hall, who entered the race about two weeks ago, raised just $4,000 but said he has several big fundraising events in the works.

And Michael Sterling, former head of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency, reported receiving nearly $150,000 in donations – with about $90,000 left in his campaign account.


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