Handel Releases Q4 Fundraising; Outlines Path To Senate Runoff

Just to sum up in order to frame the following memo, there are clearly three tiers of candidates with respect to fundraising for the quarter.

Nathan broke the numbers down here, but let’s put it into a summary of money raised this quarter (exclusive of loans):

Group 1:

Kingston  $800K

Perdue     $810K

Group 2:

Gingrey     $290K

Handel        $286K

Broun:        $280K (per ZPolitics)

And still waiting on numbers:



A while back I wrote a column attempting to explain that things have changed with respect to fundraising and frankly, campaign strategy.  This is the result of a change in the runoff to a 9 week campaign.  Donors have time to sit back and wait to pick a winner.  Outside groups will likely take a pass until there is a clear favorite and/or a clear enemy.  The goal for any candidate in one of the “jump ball” races is to get into a runoff.  Then…we get to do this all over again for 9 weeks.

Karen Handel’s campaign not only sent along her quarterly fundraising numbers, but also some hints as to what they’re looking at as to how they’re positioned to take one of these two slots.  Some select quotes follow:


  • Karen leads in the latest poll (Insider Advantage released on October 3rd).
  • In the 3rd quarter, the campaign raised $286,000 from 1,129 individual donors. 1,049 of those donors and 91% of the money raised came from Georgia.
  • The campaign’s grassroots support grows each week with former GA GOP Chairman Sue Everhart endorsing Karen this week, along with dozens of elected officials.
  • In the 2010 Gubernatorial race, every major candidate outraised Karen significantly. Karen won the primary, while the candidate who raised the most money finished last. In fact, the top four candidates finished in nearly reverse order of how much money each raised. Being the best candidate, the smartest candidate, and the most qualified candidate is what wins elections — that is Karen in the Senate race.

There is extensive comparison to Karen’s performance in the 2010 Governor’s race and her position in the race as it stands today.  And frankly, a lot of this logic still holds:

  • Karen won the primary with 231,990 (34%) of the 680,499 votes cast in the 2010 primary election.
  • Karen was strongest in vote-rich metro Atlanta.
  • In Fulton County, Karen won 62% of the 42,000 votes cast. Georgia’s first congressional district had roughly 50,000 total votes cast in the 2010 primary.
  • Karen won 8 of the top 10 counties.
  • Karen finished first in 24 out of the top 40 counties by voter turnout. She finished second in the remaining 16 top 40 counties.

And for this campaign, there’s the strategy of being able to run against Washington:

  • Washington and Congress are wildly unpopular, and it will take millions of dollars in advertising for any congressional candidate to overcome the electorate’s dissatisfaction.
  • Last week, NBC/Wall Street Journal released a poll showing that, given the opportunity, 60% of Americans would vote to replace every member of Congress – including their own member.
  • Congress has an approval rating of just 11% in recent polls.


So, that’s a glimpse of how the Handel campaign sees themselves and their position as we enter the 4th quarter – a time where we are now only 6 months from qualifying.  They have name ID and a statewide grassroots network with proven results.  They know how much name ID will cost some of their competitors to build.  And most of them have Washington baggage while DC is polling at all time lows.

I see the logic and believe it’s a respectable path to one of the two tickets to the next phase.  That said, we still have roughly 8 months until we’ll know which two candidates get their tickets punched.



  1. I will offer one major, major, major disagreement on the 2010 strategy being replicated. She was perceived then as the moderate. All caveats about anecdotal evidence – but I ran into many people who voted for her because they assumed Barnes would win and didn’t care to vote in the Democratic primary. Since then she tried to turn the Komen foundation into a radical right-wing anti-abortion outfit. And if you really like 2010 anologies, this time the guy from Savannah will have a lot more $.

    • Charlie says:

      “…Since then she tried to turn the Komen foundation into a radical right-wing anti-abortion outfit…”

      Well, at least we now see what the Democratic attack line will be. One that might play well in East Atlanta but likely not much of the rest of the state. Good luck with that.

      • Keep living in a fantasy world. Read the results of this Democracy Corps focus group on Republican voters, and pay particular attention to the moderate women and the good things they have to say about Planned Parenthood. Now take the fact that to replicate her strategy from ’10, she can’t lose any people like that. I met people like this – just randomly – in 2010, Buckhead liberals etc who were voting for her. You think it doesn’t exist, that’s fine, but you’re wrong.

        • Harry says:

          Please, Please keep talking Planned Parenthood supporters and Buckhead liberals being turned off by Karen Handel.

      • xdog says:

        I know some voters will look at Handel’s tenure at Komen with pride but most will see it as a disaster for her and the organization.

        • Exactly. Whether it was just her, or other people at Komen who passed the buck to her, you really have to completely misread the landscape to take a massively successful non-partisan organization (whether a company, charity, whatever) and inject super divisive politics into it. And not just super divisive, we’re not talking like Democrat vs Republican, we’re talking an issue that most people just don’t want to discuss.

          And furthermore, when you are a woman running for office, especially in a Republican primary, and you make your campaign about cleaning house, corrupt men, etc, you’re naturally going to attract a moderate, female constituency (along with fanboys). Believe it or not, moderates vote in primaries too. That was her coalition in 2010. In addition to the many other problems about Handel (if you think Obama has a mysterious past, welcome to Karen Handel) it’s impossible to see how she conducted herself in the years after that and think that roadmap is still easily available to her.

          When you add in the fact that Kingston is a stronger candidate than Eric Johnson, that Perdue sucks up a lot of Karen’s old Sonny fundraising, that the combination of Gingrey and Broun are suitable proxies for Oxendine and Deal, it’s hard to see her do it again – especially with no money.

  2. Stephen in Southside says:

    Is this Peach Pundit or Karen Pundit?? I’m leaning toward voting for Karen but I think this bias toward her will hurt her in the long run.

  3. The Media says:

    A very weak report by Phil Gingrey. Pretty awfully bad actually. Phil’s a doctor during the Obamacare implementation and ‘leading’ the fight against it, and that’s the best he’s got? kaboom was the sound of a blown campaign tire.

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