published Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

9th District hopefuls scramble for cash


by Andy Johns

Georgia congressional candidates issued fresh pleas for support Wednesday ahead of a midnight fundraising deadline and, according to one district party chairman, they'll need every penny.

"They're technically running four elections at once," said Doug Grammer, 9th Congressional District chairman for the Republican Party.

Seven Republicans are competing in the May 11 special election to complete the term of former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, who is running for governor. Wednesday was the deadline for fundraising that must be included in a report due at the end of the month.

With a seven-person race, Mr. Grammer expects a runoff.

"I see no way that any candidate can get 50 percent plus one," he said.

The special election and runoff, combined with the District 9 primary and runoff in July for the general election in November, will make for an expensive campaign season, he said.

But finance reports for the period ending March 31 show that candidates Lee Hawkins and Tom Graves appear to have well-stocked treasure chests.

Dr. Hawkins, a Gainesville dentist, reported $575,071 in his war chest, while Mr. Graves, a real estate developer from Gordon County, reported a total of $545,702.

Chris Cates, Steve Tarvin and Bill Stephens reported net receipts of $376,805, $221,375 and $102,312 respectively.

In an e-mailed statement, Dr. Hawkins said most of his new funding came from "longtime 9th District residents and healthcare professionals."

Election dates

* May 11: Special election to fill open seats

* June 8: Special election runoff, if needed

* July 20: State primary

* Aug. 10: State primary runoff, if needed

* Nov. 2: General election

* Nov. 30: General election runoff, if needed

Source: Georgia Secretary of State's Office

"A resounding message is that North Georgians want representation from someone who has the experience it takes to make wise and deliberate decisions," Dr. Hawkins said in the statement. "They want someone who can think through a problem and solve it -- not just throw money at it."

In a similar statement on his Web site, Mr. Graves, who raised $155,000 during the quarter, said his supporters have spoken with their wallets.

"It's encouraging to see North Georgia respond to our call to preserve freedom and empower individuals instead of government," he said.

Bert Loftman was next to the bottom on the fundraising totem pole, ending the first quarter with a total of $45,378. He said Mr. Deal put the candidates "into a quandary" by leaving office.

Eugene Moon is also in the race as an independent. He has raised a total of $7,578, according to the report.

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Article: District 9 candidates start campaigns early

Article: Deal's resignation puts pressure on 9th District race

Article: Tea Party turns attention to 9th District

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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