The top contenders for Georgia’s wide-open race for governor faced a crucial test Monday as they reported how much money they’ve collected for their campaigns, an early gauge of their popularity in the crowded contest to succeed a term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal.
The money race isn’t everything, and plenty of candidates with eye-popping financial figures have faltered. But it’s an indicator of the depth of their support — and it sends a message to influential activists and donors still waiting to pick a side in the jumbled race.
Many of the candidates have devoted much of the past two months to grueling calls pleading donors for cash and rounds of rubber-chicken dinners on the fundraising circuit. Some were eager to trumpet their numbers; others downplayed the figures.
The race could wind up being the most expensive gubernatorial contest in Georgia history, and it’s already outpacing the last contest for an open governor’s seat. In this contest, which jump-started in late March, candidates have already raised or loaned themselves more than $7.4 million.