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Barnes, Deal neck-and-neck in campaign contributions
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Fundraising efforts mirror what the polls are saying: It's going to be a close race for gubernatorial hopefuls Roy Barnes and Nathan Deal.

Barnes, the Democratic nominee, was far and away the leader in campaign contributions in the primary election.

This quarter, which ended Sept. 30, showed Barnes still has the edge when it comes to raising money, but by a slim margin.

From July through September, Barnes received $2.84 million for his campaign, just a hair ahead of Deal.

Since Aug. 6, Deal has raised $2.67 million. Because Deal was in a runoff for the Republican nomination, he filed a campaign contribution report on Aug. 6 before the Aug. 10 runoff. Barnes won the Democratic nomination outright.

But Barnes also spent more. Over the last three months, Barnes has spent $2.38 million while Deal spent $1.39 million.

Libertarian candidate John Monds came in a distant third, picking up about $7,500 this quarter.

Monds expended a little less than $5,000.

Both Deal and Barnes have had a strong media presence, though Deal has received a helping hand from the Republican Governors Association. The group has produced ads attacking Barnes, comparing him to unpopular Democrats in Washington.

Barnes also has aired a number of ads taking hits at Deal's finances and ethics.

Barnes and Deal are expected to buy even more ads in the last few weeks leading up to the Nov. 2 election.

Both have a hefty amount of cash on hand to carry them through.

Deal has $1.77 million in his coffer, and Barnes is left with $1.61 million. Monds has a little less than $4,000.

Campaign contributions tend to be a good thermometer of political success, though they do not always ensure a victory.

In the last reporting period of the Republican primary for governor, John Oxendine had out-raised all of his competitors in the closely contested race.

Based on his fundraising success, polls and political experts predicted he would be guaranteed a spot in a runoff election. But the results defied expectations, landing Oxendine in the No. 4 spot among Republican candidates.

Recent polls indicate Barnes and Deal are in a close competition for the governor's office, with Deal taking a slight lead.

In the lieutenant governor's race, incumbent Casey Cagle is the top fundraiser. The Republican raised more than $550,000 this reporting period, leaving him with a net amount of $1.2 million left to spend.

Democrat Carol Porter trailed, bringing in about $347,000 this period. She has about $405, 000 left.

Porter and Cagle are both expected to air their first television ads Monday.

Libertarian Dan Barber, who joined the race in late August after the withdrawal of Rhonda Martini, has raised $1,100.


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