By Beau Evans
Capitol Beat News Service
The four candidates in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff races have reeled in huge donations ahead of the Jan. 5 election, raising more than $340 million between them since mid-October.
The two Democratic contenders, Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, combined for the larger haul of roughly $210 million, while incumbent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler together amassed $132 million.
The races have drawn intense national attention since the outcome will decide the balance of power in Washington, D.C. Wins by both Ossoff and Warnock would hand Democrats control of both chambers of Congress and the White House following President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the Nov. 3 general election.
The roughly $342 million total for all four candidates adds to millions of dollars more in spending on campaign television ads, mailers, social media and door-knocking by dozens of outside groups that look to make the pair of Senate races among the most expensive in American history.
Ossoff, a Democrat who owns an investigative journalism company, collected nearly $107 million during the fundraising period running from Oct. 15 to Dec. 16.
His opponent, Perdue, the Republican former corporate executive, raised about $68 million within the same time.
Warnock, the Democratic senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, raised more than $103 million over the two-month filing period compared to $64 million raised by his opponent Loeffler, an Atlanta businesswoman who earlier in the race loaned $23 million of her own money to her campaign.
Each candidate still has millions more to draw down for ads and other get-out-the-vote activities as the candidates enter the final week of campaigning in the Jan. 5 runoffs.
It’s not guaranteed the big fundraising figures can secure victory for any of the campaigns.
Recent polls show the races as toss-ups and expert observers are not placing any bets on the outcomes.
Democrats feel momentum on their side after Georgia voters flipped the state for a Democratic candidate for the first time since 1992 in Biden’s win over President Donald Trump.
Republicans are pushing to invigorate conservative voters to block Democratic control of the federal government.
The candidates have not been the only fundraising machines in recent weeks as several political action committees rack up tens of millions of dollars to bolster their preferred parties.
Notable are two committees backed on the one hand by former gubernatorial candidate and rising Democratic star Stacey Abrams, and on the other by former President George W. Bush’s campaign guru, Republican strategist Karl Rove.
Fair Fight, the group founded by Abrams, has amassed nearly $57 million since mid-October with nearly $24 million left to spend down the stretch for the Democratic contenders.
The Georgia Battleground Fund, overseen by the National Republican Senatorial Committee with Rove leading fundraising efforts, has brought in more than $49 million since mid-October and has more than $15 million remaining.
The early voting period for the Senate runoffs that began Dec. 14 wraps up later this week.