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Political spending picks up in 2018 as millions spent in governor's race
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Georgia gubernatorial candidates have raised another $2 million in the race to replace Gov. Nathan Deal since February.

Five Republicans and two Democrats have raised more than $22 million in their primary runs, which end at the May 22 primary election. The pace of fundraising dipped slightly during the latest session of the Georgia General Assembly.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle leads the field of both Republicans and Democrats in fundraising with $6.79 million raised in total. He’s followed by Secretary of State Brian Kemp ($2.9 million raised) and former state Sen. Hunter Hill ($2.7 million raised), both also Republicans.

Former tech executive Clay Tippins continues, a Republican, to catch up with the rest of the pack in fundraising, raising a total of $2.54 million and having $1.6 million on hand.

While fundraising slacked during the legislative session, campaign spending has taken off during debate season in the primaries after months of candidates keeping their powder dry.

With just the top three candidates by fundraising, Republicans are spending millions on advertising, and the better-funded candidates aren’t skipping on consultants.

Cagle dropped more than $1 million between January and April — much of it on staff, a huge consulting contract and media purchases — the most he’s spent in any single reporting period so far.

About $205,000 of that went to campaign consultant RGC Consulting, which has as its listed agent veteran fundraiser Rebecca Grant Cummiskey.

The biggest chunks of spending went to media. Cagle spent almost $500,000 through Virginia-based Strategic Media Services and another $130,500 through Alpharetta-based consultant The Stroneridge Group, which has a long record working with Republican campaigns around the country.

Likewise, Kemp’s largest expenses are media buys: The secretary of state spent almost $360,000 on media through The Wickers Group, a firm based on San Francisco that worked with both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in previous presidential runs.

Beginning in February, Hill has spent more than $600,000 on advertising through New Jersey-based Jamestown Associates, which produced ads for Donald Trump in 2016.

On the Democratic side, Stacey Abrams has raised $3.28 million to Stacey Evans’ $2.62 million, but as with previous reports, Abrams is burning through cash at a much faster rate.

Abrams ended the reporting period with about $900,000 on hand and has spent more than anyone else in the race, Republican or Democrat. In the latest period, much of that money went to staff, lodging and travel.

Meanwhile, most of Evans’ spending has gone to staff and consultants. She’s hired digital marketing firm Terminus Information out of Atlanta and spent $102,000 through Democratic media company Putnam Partners in Washington, D.C.

Gubernatorial race fundraising

Casey Cagle

Raised: $6.79 million

Spent: $2.25 million

On hand: $4.53 million

Eddie Hayes

Zero raised, zero spent

Hunter Hill

Raised: $2.7 million

Spent: $1.58 million

On hand: $1.12 million

Brian Kemp

Raised: $2.92 million

Spent: $1.29 million

On hand: $1.63 million

Clay Tippins

Raised: $2.54 million

Spent: $952,999

On hand: $1.59 million

Marc Urbach

Raised: $4,478

Spent: $120

On hand: $4,358

Michael Williams

Raised: $1.79 million

Spent: $517,185

On hand: $1.27 million

Stacey Abrams

Raised: $3.28 million

Spent: $2.38 million

On hand: $898,553

Stacey Evans

Raised: $2.62 million

Spent: $1.13 million

On hand: $1.49 million

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