Georgia 2018: Cagle sets pace with $2.7M fundraising haul in gov race

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle raised more than $2.7 million in roughly two months since he entered the governor’s race, outpacing his Republican rivals in the wide-open contest to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal.

The Republican has about $2.5 million cash on hand, and he’s likely to be aided by another fat bank account: The Georgia Conservatives Fund, a fund long run by Cagle’s top allies but with no official link to his campaign, has about $2.5 million at its disposal.

Cagle is the presumptive front-runner in a crowded GOP field that also includes Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sens. Hunter Hill and Michael Williams. He’s running on a pledge to create 500,000 new jobs, cut taxes and reduce the high school dropout rate.

The fundraising figures are an important early gauge of a candidate’s strength, and they’re watched closely by activists and donors who have yet to pick a side in the race.

Cagle’s top GOP rival might be Kemp, who raised more than $1.7 million after entering the race in late March as a pro-Donald Trump candidate with a “Georgia First” campaign.

Hill’s campaign said he has raised more than $1 million during the March-to-June fundraising period. Williams is expected to dip into his personal account to help finance his campaign.

Cagle’s campaign said his fundraising haul was one of the largest at this stage in an open gubernatorial contest, and that he collected contributions from more than 1,200 donors. Among them is former Georgia football coach Ray Goff and more than 150 GOP elected officials.

In a statement, Cagle said the $2.7 million take was “immensely humbling and encouraging.”

Whoever emerges as the GOP nominee will likely face one of two high-profile Democrats next November: State Reps. Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans are locked in their own bitter duel for their party’s nomination.

More: Georgia governor race: Who is running in 2018


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