Democrat Raphael Warnock will report raising more than $2.85 million over the last three months in his campaign to oust U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a growing warchest he’ll use to try to edge out rivals in the November special election.
Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, has now collected at least $4.3 million since entering the race against Loeffler in January. The contest is a 21-candidate special election in November with no party primary to hash out nominees.
A first-time candidate, Warnock has raced to consolidate support from fellow Democrats with the help of Stacey Abrams, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other powerful state and federal party figures.
Two other prominent Democrats are also in the November free-for-all: Matt Lieberman, an entrepreneur who is the son of former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman; and Ed Tarver, a former state senator and ex-federal prosecutor in east Georgia.
Democratic leaders have quietly raised the pressure on both to abandon the race, contending that the party’s best shot is in the jumbled November vote rather than a lower-turnout January runoff. Both have committed to staying in.
Recent polls show Warnock in a tight race with both Loeffler and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, her most formidable Republican challenger. Several have also shown Lieberman within striking distance.
Warnock turned heads in April when he out-raised Collins and Loeffler in the first quarter. Both Republicans have yet to report their latest figures, though Loeffler is expected to add another $5 million to the $10 million she’s pumped into her campaign.
The pastor has presented himself to voters as a candidate who can seize the “moral moment” in Washington by championing expanded voting rights, an overhaul of the criminal justice system and other progressive policies.
Collins and Loeffler have largely focused on one another rather than the Democratic side of the contest. An exception came this week when Loeffler tried to tie Warnock to the “defund police” movement that’s gained traction amid protests for racial justice. The Democrat said he opposes efforts to abolish police agencies.
In Georgia’s other U.S. Senate race, Democrat Jon Ossoff said this week he raised more than $2.3 million since winning the June primary to challenge Republican David Perdue, and that he took in at least $3.45 million during the April-June quarter.
Ossoff also joined the chorus of Democrats who back Warnock by formally endorsing his campaign.