Earlier this week fundraising data for the first half of the year was released (in off-years fundraising numbers are realesed biannually in GA state races like GOV, Lt. Gov., SoS, etc.) and there were some surprises on both the Democratic and GOP side with expectations exceeded by some and underacheived by others with one notable exception who has not formally declared his candidacy yet, former Governor Roy Barnes.
Nathan Deal raised over $1.2 million, really incredible given his detachment from statewide politics. Deal concerns me as a really difficult general election candidate because he is rather unknown outside of his district unlike other foot-in-mouth Republcan Congressmen in GA and he can raise a ton of $$$.
Eric Johnson raised close to $1 million, somewhat like Deal and this number came out of nowhere, but given his leadership role in the State Senate and his unique geographical location, like Deal, he was able to rake in the big bucks.
Karen Handel, while raising significantly more than Porter or Poythress, will need to do better than $431,178.57 in December to make it through a bruising GOP primary. I think she has a good chance of being passed over in favor of either Deal, McBerry, or Oxendine if the poor fundraising continues.
Austin Scott's $180,620.00 is not going to cut it. His walking tour of Georgia would be interesting in other circumstances(like if there were an incumbent running), but in an open race with a LOT of different options on the GOP and Democratic side, I don't see him having a chance.
John Oxendine's over $1 million raised so far makes this fundraising period not as critical for Oxendine as other candidates, yet $416,580.35 this year so far is lagging in comparison to Deal and Johnson, but going forward it will be interesting to see whether GOP donors will help him maintain his current frontrunner status.
Dubose Porter only raised $231,250, slightly more than Democratic Attorney General candidate Rob Teilhet, which says a lot for Teilhet, but is a rather discouraging statement about Porter's viability in the primary. I don't think Porter's populist message will catch on with voters, and he'll need to ramp up the fundraising if he's serious about this gubernatorial race, otherwise I think it'd be wise for him to look elsewhere for higher office.
David Poythress, while sitting on a nice amount ($304,045.00), lacked in the first half of 2008 raising a paltry $156,462.20 especially considering he spent $196,407.42 over the same amount of time. I know he's in it for the long haul but to be taken seriously he'll need to turn the fundraising around ASAP.
Thurbert Baker raised close to $700,000. For a candidate who only started raising money in April, this is surprising and higher than many expected.
Roy Barnes, as stated above, has just launched his website and has not started fundraising in earnest reporting, $0 raised so far, but given his penchant for fundraising in the past ($22 million in 2002), I think Barnes might bring in a solid amount come December, but with his frontrunner status come expectations that have to be met to secure the Democratic nomination without a fratricidal primary.