ATLANTA — Friday was a dollar deadline in the race for Georgia governor as the crowded field of candidates faced a key hurdle: demonstrating they can raise enough cash to go the distance.
U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal’s gubernatorial campaign raised a little more than $600,000 in the last six months of 2009, raising his total war chest to $1.8 million since he entered the race, according to campaign financial reports.
The Republican from Gainesville has spent half of that total and has $940,275 left in the bank, according to the reports. Friday was the deadline for candidates to file their financial statements.
Deal’s campaign says he has received contributions from 100 counties in the state and some 1,800 individuals.
"I am encouraged by the overwhelming support of Georgia voters who want someone with a proven record of leadership," Deal said in a statement. "The 2010 election year has arrived and voters will decide who can best lead our state through challenging times."
Seven GOP candidates are vying for the nomination to replace Gov. Sonny Perdue next year.
State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine told The Associated Press he has raised $2.96 million total in the race, $1.5 million in the last six months. The Duluth Republican said he had $2.2 million left in the bank. Oxendine’s campaign disclosure was not immediately available to confirm those figures.
Former state Sen. Eric Johnson reported bringing in $726,362 for the reporting period. That brings the Savannah Republican to $1.7 million total for the campaign, with $1.3 million left in the bank.
Among other Republicans, State Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton raised $222,564 in the last six months of 2009, for a total of $403,184. He has $159,082 left. State Sen. Jeff Chapman of Brunswick has raised $70,090 and had $17,833 in the bank.
Former Secretary of State Karen Handel had not yet reported her campaign totals. Also in the race is Ray McBerry, a McDonough radio station owner.
Five Democratic candidates are seeking the nomination, led by former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes, who reported $2.7 million in contributions Thursday.
Reports had not yet been filed late Friday for Attorney General Thurbert Baker, House Minority Leader DuBose Porter and former Georgia National Guard Commander David Poythress. Ray City Mayor Carl Camon raised $3,403 and had just $12 cash on hand.
Oxendine, Baker, Porter, Scott and Chapman are all barred from accepting contributions during the legislative session, which begins Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.