Campaign finance disclosure reports reveal a wide range of fundraising and spending by Cobb’s six state senators.
State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-east Cobb, has the largest campaign chest. Kirkpatrick’s campaign had a balance of $88,218, reporting $12,550 in contributions and $2,568 in expenditures. Notable donations included $2,800 from the Georgia Medical Political Action Committee and $2,600 from the Georgia Orthopaedic Society PAC, with smaller donations coming from other PACs and those in the medical field.
“I’m speculating, but I think it probably is related to the expectation of a more competitive district than some of the others,” said Kerwin Swint, interim dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Kennesaw State University, on Kirkpatrick’s haul.
But leading the pack in fundraising for the six-month period, which ended June 30, was Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta. Jordan has an even $65,000 in her campaign account, pulling in $74,425 in contributions and spending $16,910 during the first six months of the non-election year. Many of the contributors listed in her disclosure reports are attorneys and law firms.
Other donations included $2,000 from PATH Economic Development Solutions, $1,000 from Georgia Medical PAC, and $250 each from the campaign committees for Democratic state Reps. Teri Anulewicz and Erick Allen, both of whom are Cobb legislators.
“Jen Jordan is very visible, she is someone that is taking an active role in many issues,” Swint said. “I’m sure she’s having very good success at fundraising.”
But Mark Rountree, president of Landmark Communications, said he believes the fundraising numbers show that “Democrats know that she’s vulnerable to being beaten.” Rountree ran Kirkpatrick’s campaign as her political consultant and serves in similar capacities for other Republican candidates.
“They know she has taken extreme positions on issues. Really the partisan Democrats are the ones that have shoveled money into her coffers because they want to try to hold the seat,” Rountree said. “She also has announced opposition, so she’s actively trying to raise money to try to get reelected.”
Republican Harrison Lance of Buckhead, a wealth strategies adviser for MassMutual, has announced he is running for Jordan’s seat in next year’s election.
State Sen. Michael “Doc” Rhett, D-Marietta, had a campaign balance of $37,147 after raising $12,906 during the period and spending $3,072. Donations with local connections included $2,800 from the Gov. Roy Barnes Law Group, $1,000 from Metro Atlanta Ambulance Service in Marietta, $300 from the Cobb SCLC and $300 from Turner Chapel AME Church.
Other donations included $500 from the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, $400 from the Georgia Association of Realtors, $360 from the United Transportation Union and $300 from the Georgia Chiropractic Association.
Cobb’s three other senators saw little to no activity in the first half of the calendar year.
State Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-west Cobb, received just one itemized contribution — $500 from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Georgia PAC — during the reporting period, and after spending $252 in the time frame had a net balance of $77,776.
The campaign of state Sen. Bruce Thompson, R-White, reported no contributions during the period but tallied just over $6,200 in spending, leaving a $25,417 balance.
Reporting no contributions, no expenditures and a balance of zero was State Sen. Horacena Tate’s campaign, of which Tate is listed as both the chair and treasurer. The Atlanta Democrat’s disclosure report was just five pages and also reported no outstanding debts, loans or investments.
“It’s very early in the process — there may be some members who raised a lot or a little, but I think the more important report will be from this point forward to the end of this year — I think it’ll be more indicative,” Swint says. “If someone has put a lot of time in to raising money, it could be, for example, they’re in a very competitive district and they’re expected a well-funded opponent. Those who feel comfortable in an noncompetitive district may not feel as compelled to raise money, especially early.”
Members of the Georgia General Assembly are barred from accepting contributions while the legislature is in session, which was from Jan. 14 through April 2 this year.
The next round of campaign contribution reports will run through Dec. 31.