Challenger Barry Fleming increased his fundraising lead over U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, during the first three months of this year as Mr. Broun spent much of the money he raised paying off debts from his last campaign.
Through the end of March. Mr. Broun raised about $202,200, according to documents filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission, and used $73,500 to repay loans he made to his campaign for last year's special election. His campaign still owes about $198,000, about half to himself and half to others, records show.
But Mr. Broun cut his campaign a check for $100,000 after the March 31 records deadline, spokesman Tim Echols said.
"We had hoped Barry Fleming would get out of the race, but it doesn't appear he's going to," Mr. Echols said. "It looks like we'll have to wait until after the (primary) election to make Dr. Broun financially whole again. We need all the money we can get to pay for signs, staff and other expenses."
A rumor circulated earlier this month that Mr. Fleming was dropping out of the congressional race, but he denied it.
"Barry is in this race to win it," campaign manager Cam Kirbo said last week.
Mr. Echols described Mr. Broun's fundraising efforts as "a pretty good quarter" and said Mr. Broun has scheduled two more Washington, D.C., fundraisers.
Mr. Fleming, a Republican state representative from Columbia County, reported raising about $216,000 and spending $107,000. More important, he has $596,000 on hand, more than five times the $116,000 Mr. Broun's campaign has in the bank, not including the recent loan.
Democrat Bobby Saxon raised about $10,000, spent $24,000 and has $14,000 on hand.