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Deal has $4 million in war chest

POSTED: January 7, 2014 11:46 p.m.

Gov. Nathan Deal has about $4 million on hand as he gears up for a re-election bid this year for a second four-year term.

“We’ll have a little bit more money coming before the legislature starts (Monday),” campaign Chairman Philip Wilheit said Tuesday, ahead of today’s reporting deadline. “Once that starts, we’ll curtail all fundraising activities.”

The amount is a big jump from the $1.1 million in cash Deal had on hand as of June 30. During his 2010 campaign, Deal raised nearly $8.4 million over the course of a crowded GOP primary and then general election matchup against former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes. In that race, Barnes raised just shy of $9 million.

Deal has raised money in 122 of Georgia’s 159 counties, and the percentage of donations from Georgians was 94 percent, which “is a big number,” said Wilheit, president and CEO of Wilheit Packaging in Gainesville.

“I’m not sure everybody is going to be able to make the claim that that high a percent of Georgians is supporting them,” he said. “And more than half of the donations were from small donors, the average Georgian.”

Wilheit didn’t have a total number of donors.

Generally, he said he’s excited about the war chest.

“I think it puts us in a great cash position to do what we need to do between now and when we start raising money again before the primary,” Wilheit said.

The primary for state races is July 15, and the general election is Nov. 4.

Democrat Jason Carter, a state senator and grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, is expected to report $1.3 million in contributions.

Carter announced in November that he would be running for governor. State and national Democrats have rallied around Carter, and he is not expected to draw a major primary challenger.

Carter campaign Chairman Michael J. Coles said the campaign had more than 1,800 donors, with over 1,500 of them from Georgia.

Democrats have been dealing with weak fundraising since Republicans surged to power. In addition to controlling every statewide office, Republicans hold sizable majorities in the General Assembly, and voters have backed every GOP presidential candidate since 2000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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