Georgia 2018: Kemp raises $1.7M in hunt for governor

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
Bita Honarvar/AJC.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp raised about $1.7 million in the opening months of his campaign for governor, a strong initial showing in the wide-open 2018 contest.

Kemp was the first candidate to formally announce for governor, entering the race in late March, and he’s running as a pro-Donald Trump candidate who aims to rally the state GOP’s rural base with a “Georgia First” campaign.

He’s trying to position himself as the top rival to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the presumptive front-runner and one of four Republicans in a contest that also includes state Sens. Hunter Hill and Michael Williams.

Kemp’s supporters were quick to note that his fundraising haul, while paling in comparison to the eye-popping numbers for Georgia’s 6th District race, was among the largest in the opening stages of a gubernatorial contest without an incumbent.

In 2010, by contrast, the top candidate raised about $1.2 million in the first financial fundraising report. That contender was Cagle, who later dropped out of the race and ran for re-election to Georgia’s No. 2 job instead.

The specifics of his report were not immediately available. Hill’s campaign said he has raised more than $1 million during the March-to-June fundraising period. Cagle is likely to top the $1 million mark as well, while Williams is expected to dip into his personal fortune to help finance his campaign.

Two Democrats are also in the race, and both have fundraising bona fides: State Reps. Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans.

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