Originally created 04/08/06

Some candidates are late with data



ATLANTA - Thanks to election-year maneuvering and software issues, many statewide campaigns on Friday weren't sharing how much they raised during the quarter that ended March 31.

Some of the candidates and their aides said they didn't expect the numbers to be particularly high for those who are running for statewide offices.

That's because state elected officials are barred from raising money during the legislative session. That means that candidates already in Georgia government had only a few days before the session, and one day after it, to seek out funding during the quarter that just ended.

Gainesville Republican Sen. Casey Cagle's campaign for lieutenant governor bragged about raising $100,000 the day after the session. But that total was pretty much it for the quarter, spokesman Brad Alexander said.

"We really had, in effect, one day to raise money," he said, pointing out that many of the days before the session began in January were close to New Year's festivities. "There wasn't really much (fundraising) going on then."

Sen. Brian Kemp, an Athens Republican who's running for agriculture commissioner, said his campaign was still crunching the numbers Friday evening. The reports were due at midnight.

"There's no question, from a fundraising standpoint, we were at a disadvantage," he said.

But Mr. Kemp added that he believed the legislation he worked on during the session would help him build his record and support as the campaign rolled along.

One of Mr. Kemp's opponents for the GOP nomination, farmer trade association executive Gary Black, raised more than $100,000 in the quarter that ended. Mr. Black said he believed the numbers indicated rising support but conceded there was likely an edge to being able to raise money while Mr. Kemp was tied up.

"We took advantage of the opportunity, no doubt," Mr. Black said.

Shyam Reddy, a Democratic candidate for secretary of state, announced raising more than $150,000. He said the legislative prohibition might have played a role, but he pointed out that only the Republican side of the race had a candidate affected by the ban, Sen. Bill Stephens, R-Canton.

"I think Bill not being able to raise money really benefited Karen (Handel)," Mr. Reddy said, referring to the Fulton County chairwoman who is Mr. Stephens' chief rival.

Neither Mr. Stephens nor Ms. Handel had released figures by Friday evening.

One of Mr. Reddy's opponents, Scott Holcomb, said he had raised $100,000 since November, much of that in small donations.

"These donors will lead our campaign to victory because they are passionate in their support of this campaign," Mr. Holcomb said in a release announcing the figure.

Other candidates shuffled for advantage as they released news of their fundraising efforts. Former legislator Greg Hecht, running for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, announced he had raised more than $1 million. His main rival, Jim Martin, another former legislator, said he'd raised $167,127 this quarter, for a total of $764,098.

Reach Brandon Larrabee at (404) 681-1701 or brandon.larrabee@morris.com.