Georgia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to reporters at the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. Abrams signed the paperwork needed to get on the ballot for November's election. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Georgia politics is becoming an expensive business. With less than one month until Election Day on November 8, the campaign ads will sling accusations seemingly in a 24-hour loop. If the spring and summer were the first two legs of the marathon, the final month will be a sprint as each candidate lunges for the proverbial finish line.

The Stacey Abrams campaign announced they have raised $36 million in the third quarter. As a result, the Georgia Democrat has raised north of $85 million throughout her campaign. 

The Abrams campaign has more than $11 million in cash on hand heading into the final month of the election season. Conversely, Governor Brian Kemp announced his campaign raised $28.7 million during the third quarter. Kemp reported $15.4 million in cash on hand.

The Abrams’ campaign said the money came from more than 370,000 individual donors, with 350,000 of them “having made a contribution of $100 or less since the campaign’s launch.”

Nationwide, $450 million in outside spending has been spent on Senate races during the 2022 Elections, according to OpenSecrets. As a result, every race, including down ballot races, have more scrutiny than they’ve ever had.

(From left to right) Sheree Holloway, TunDe Hector, Bee Nguyen, Yvonne Bryant, April Verrett, SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer and Amanda Rivera, Starbucks Worker pose for a photo during the SEIU Town Hall on Saturday, August 13, 2022 in Atlanta. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta)

Another example of the high stakes game that is Georgia politics is the war chest Georgia State Rep. Bee Nguyen has built in her quest to unseat Brad Raffensperger in the Secretary of State’s race.

Thursday morning, Bee Nguyen announced her campaign raised more than $1 million in the third quarter of 2022. This amount exceeded last quarter’s sum, bringing the campaign’s total raise to $3,220,816.30 and cash on hand to $1,231,283.30.

The Nguyen campaign says their fundraising total was driven by 12,290 grassroots donors who made 15,745 contributions, with an average donation of $67.27.

“Our campaign’s fundraising momentum reflects what we are seeing on the ground: the enthusiasm for Bee Nguyen’s candidacy is higher than ever. Georgians are also learning about the real Brad Raffensperger – and they are rejecting his extremist views,” said Maria O. Banjo, Senior Advisor. 

While there is no discernable and recent polling data, this down-ballot race has garnered so much attention throughout the state. The media attention is attributed to the fallout of the 2020 Presidential Election which saw former President Donald J. Trump ask incumbent Brad Raffensperger “find 11,780 votes.”

Recently, Raffensperger championed Senate Bill 202 during the 2021 legislative session which notably reduced the number of absentee dropboxes in Fulton County from 38 to 8, banned the passing out of water and snacks while potential voters waited to cast their ballots.

“Raffensperger’s support for laws that restrict the freedom to vote and an abortion ban with zero exceptions – even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life – is completely out of step with the overwhelming majority of Georgians,” Banjo continued. “In stark contrast, voters know that Representative Bee Nguyen has a strong record of standing up for every Georgian’s rights.”

State Representative Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn speaks against House Bill 873 from the House Chamber inside the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday, February 3, 2022. House Bill 873 would re-draw commissioner’s districts in Gwinnett County. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Another example of Georgia down ballot races receiving more attention is the race in Gwinnett County. Friday, Rep. Dr. Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn, announced a fundraising total of $95,928 and has more than $100,000 cash on hand. Her average donation was $67. This brings her total amount raised for the 2022 election cycle up to $217,000.

“I’m so proud of the campaign I’ve run so far–I’ve broken all of my personal records and I’m so grateful to every person who donated, volunteered, or helped out in any way,” said Rep. Dr. Clark. “This is going to be a close race and my opponent and I could not be more different–it’s important that we finish strong with less than two weeks until early vote starts.”

The deadline to register to vote in Georgia is Tuesday, October 11th. Early voting in Georgia begins on Monday, October 17th.

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...