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Bank accounts give an early picture of the gubernatorial race

POSTED: April 9, 2010 12:11 a.m.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine continues to lead his Republican counterparts in the polls, despite all the money they’ve spent.

But it is Democratic candidate Roy Barnes who leads all the state’s gubernatorial candidates in the race for donors’ dollars.
Oxendine has spent about $251,000 of the $2.28 million he’s raised in his campaign for governor, according to campaign disclosure forms filed Wednesday.

And compared with the campaign spending of two of his leading Republican opponents, Oxendine’s been frugal.

Campaign disclosures show that Nathan Deal and Karen Handel have, so far, spent almost $2 million on their campaigns combined.

But both have kept their places in the polls.

A poll released earlier this week by Insider Advantage showed Oxendine has the most support from likely Republican voters in Georgia’s gubernatorial primary.

The poll surveyed 396 likely voters in the upcoming Republican primary. It showed that 26 percent plan to vote for Oxendine, while 18 percent support Handel and 9 percent support Deal.

Two months ago, a poll conducted by the same organization had the same Republican candidates in the same positions with slightly different numbers.

Campaign disclosure reports show that Deal, a former U.S. representative, has spent more than $1.24 million of the $2.04 million he raised since he entered the race last May.

Handel, whose total contributions fall short of Deal’s by more than $700,000, has spent almost $754,000, according to her disclosure with the State Ethics Commission.

The reports, which detail what each candidate raised and spent by March 31, also show that, in the last three months, former state Sen. Eric Johnson raised more money than any Republican candidate for governor.

From Jan. 1 to March 31, Johnson raised $685,313, which is more than three times what Deal raised and almost twice what Handel raised in that same time frame.

Johnson resigned from his seat in the state Senate last year to pursue a bid for governor. Had he stayed, the Savannah Republican would have been barred from raising money during the state legislative session, which began Jan. 11.

The state law has impacted fundraising for Oxendine and two other Republican candidates for governor — state Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton and state Sen. Jeff Chapman of Brunswick.

The ban also affects two Democratic gubernatorial candidates — state House Minority Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin and Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

Both Baker and Porter are far behind former Gov. Roy Barnes, who has raised more than $3.61 million since he entered the governor’s race last summer — about $913,000 of which he raised in the first three months of the year.

Barnes’ disclosure shows that he had nearly $2.84 million left by March 31, which is well above other Democrats vying for their party’s nomination.

Former Adj. Gen. David Poythress raised nearly $119,000 between January and March. Ray City Mayor Carl Camon raised $4,064 and spent $3,960.

Oxendine has a little more than $2 million on hand. New Republican candidate Ray Boyd also had $2 million on hand by the March 31 reporting deadline.

Boyd of Rutledge joined the race on March 30. A real estate business in his name contributed the $2 million, according to the report he filed with the ethics commission.



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