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ATLANTA – The vital national role Georgia played during the 2020 elections is leading to some high-volume political fund-raising in the Peach State early on in the 2022 election cycle.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, raised nearly $5.9 million through the first three months of this year, a stunning first-quarter total for a House freshman.
On the other side of the aisle, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., another newly elected member of Georgia’s congressional delegation, brought in more than $5.7 million during January, February and March.
Both Greene and Warnock drew national attention during their successful campaigns for different reasons.
Greene became a lightning rod for controversy when she embraced far-right conspiracy theories in social media postings to the point that the House voted in February to strip her committee assignments.
“I have been the most attacked freshman member of Congress in history,” Greene told CNN in a statement earlier this month. “I stood my ground and never wavered in my belief.”
Greene’s fund-raising prowess in the first quarter by comparison dwarfed the total progressive icon Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., hauled in during the same period two years ago as a freshman member of Congress.
The publicity “AOC” received in left-wing circles during and after her election victory in 2020 is comparable to the attention Greene is getting now.
“She has become a national figure, a celebrity on the far right,” said Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University. “I think she’ll continue to get attention and money from around the country.”
Greene likely doesn’t need so much money to win re-election in Georgia’s staunchly conservative 14th Congressional District, where Democrats generally fare poorly.
Warnock, on the other hand, already is starting to draw Republican opposition for next year’s Senate contest. While U.S. senators normally serve six-year terms, the Democrat will have to run again next year to complete the last two years of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term.
Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff captured Georgia’s two Senate seats in January runoffs over Republican incumbents, pulling Democrats into a 50-50 split with Republicans, just enough to gain control of the chamber because Vice President Kamala Harris is in position to break tie votes.
“That’s looked at as a nationally important Senate seat,” Swint said. “It’s going to yield a lot of money on both sides.”
More than a year and a half out from the 2022 general election, Atlanta banking executive Latham Saddler and Kelvin King, an Atlanta small-business owner, have declared their candidacies for Warnock’s Senate seat. U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Savannah, is considering running for the Senate.
Meanwhile, two Democratic House incumbents occupying competitive seats have gotten off to fast fundraising starts.
Rep. Lucy McBath of Roswell reported raising $918,550 during the first quarter, and the campaign of Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux of Suwanee brought in $743,066 in January, February and March.