Marcus Flowers, the Democratic challenger for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, more than doubled the incumbent's fundraising haul in the first three months of 2022.
Greene, who represents Northwest Georgia, still has more cash on hand - more than $3 million compared to Flowers' approximately $1.9 million. In total, Greene has raised $8.4 million compared to nearly $7.1 million raised by Flowers.
In the most recent financial disclosure filed with the Federal Election Commission before the May 24 primary, Flowers reported raising about $2.4 million the first quarter of 2022, while Greene raised about $1 million. The primary election will be May 24, and the general election is Nov. 8.
Georgia's 14th Congressional District includes the northwest corner of the state, including the counties of Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Whitfield, Murray, Chattooga, Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Paulding and, since redistricting, a section of Cobb County.
Flowers has a significant fundraising lead over the two other Democrat challengers, Holly McCormack and Wendy Davis. Greene is also facing six opponents in the Republican primary: Mark Clay, Eric Cunningham, James Haygood, Charles Lutin, Jennifer Strahan and Seth Synstelien.
"Congresswoman Greene has far more cash on hand than anyone else in the race with 10X more than her nearest primary opponent," Nick Dyer, a representative for the Greene campaign, said in an email. "Hundreds of thousands of patriotic Americans have chipped in small-dollar donations to make sure MTG is sent back to Washington to fight for their values."
In 2020, Greene won the contest with 74.7% of the vote after her Democratic opponent bowed out of the race. Georgia Democrats have rarely fielded an opponent for the deep-red district, and a contested Democratic primary is also rare.
Strahan leads Republican challengers in fundraising with $322,625 as of this quarter, with $157,549 in the bank. Both Haygood and Synstelien filed their first fundraising reports this quarter. Synstelien raised $9,038 and had $6,812 in the bank, while Haygood has raised $11,430 and was left with $1,045 this quarter. Neither Lutin, Cunningham nor Clay have filed FEC reports for this quarter.
Among the Democrats, McCormack has raised $1.7 million and has $84,762 in cash, while Davis has raised $456,212 with $101,320 in the bank.
Neither Flowers nor Strahan could be reached for comment.
McCormack said she is a working mother employed as a life insurance broker, helping her clients with claims.
"They [voters] are hungry for a representative to knock off the ego-driven things, they want good representation; somebody who will actually speak for them, not [seeking a] national spotlight way that we have right now that doesn't get any work done," McCormack said.
McCormack acknowledged the national exposure of the race and said it's been fun, challenging and a good opportunity to bring more attention to Northwest Georgia - a part of the state that is sometimes ignored.
While talking to the voters, affordable health care, veterans' issues, lack of broadband internet and affordable child care have been frequent topics. As a working mother, McCormack said she feels the child care issue personally, calling Northwest Georgia "a child care desert."
She said she's seen a trend in what the voters are asking for from a member of Congress.
"It's the same kitchen-table issues that we all have, and that's not party-specific," McCormack said. "We all are wanting to provide for our family, have opportunities, be able to go to the doctor, keep food on the table and have a roof over our kids' heads."
What sets McCormack apart from the rest of the Democratic candidates, she said, is that she was raised in the community and experiences the same struggles as all working people in Northwest Georgia. Glad there's competition in the Democratic primary, she said she didn't want to "mudsling" and criticize Flowers, who's leading significantly in fundraising.
Davis said she has also heard voters say they think they aren't getting good representation and are struggling with the effects of inflation, a sluggish economy and expensive housing. Regarding housing, Davis said one of her proudest achievements on the Rome City Commission was bringing together stakeholders to incentivize developers to build lower-cost houses and rentals.
"That's what we need more of in Congress: problem-solving," Davis said.
Many people think Congress is only about voting, but Davis said she wants to help connect constituents with federal benefits, grant writing, job training dollars, Veterans Administration benefits and services like domestic violence support.
"What I hope to be the hallmark of my service as a member of Congress is that we get as many dollars as we can that have been appropriated in the district, and actually doing the work they were supposed to be doing," Davis said.
Both Flowers and McCormack are political novices, while Davis said she has eight years of experience on the Rome City Commission. Davis added she also has roots in the community that go back five generations.
Just 4% of Flowers' fundraising haul comes from Georgia, Davis said, while the majority of Davis' funds are from the state. She said she made a deliberate choice to focus on fundraising from Georgians, avoiding alarmism and name-calling with Greene, which she said she knows would have raised a lot more money.
As the daughter of a World War II veteran, she said she saw how tough it was for her father to get the help he needed. If elected, she said her highest priority would be helping veterans, saying the Veterans Administration has long been a problem.
"Government isn't the answer to all of our problems, but in my mind government should work," Davis said. "Again, we're all human and every human system is going to have gaps and problems, but my job would be to fill those gaps and solve those problems."