Suburban Atlanta congressional hopefuls wage competitive fight for bucks

By   – Staff Writer, Atlanta Business Chronicle

If campaign fund-raising prowess is any indicator, the two most closely watched 2020 congressional races in Georgia are shaping up as highly competitive.

First-term Democrat Lucy McBath is outpacing her potential Republican challengers in the battle for campaign donors in the 6th Congressional District. Meanwhile, the open 7th District seat has attracted 18 candidates, with 11 having raised more than $100,000 each through the end of last month, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission this week.

Both districts are in the once-heavily Republican northern suburbs of Atlanta, which are becoming increasingly competitive due in large part to an influx of Latino voters.

McBath, the first Democrat to win the 6th District seat in decades, has raised nearly $1.78 million through the third quarter in her bid for a second term.

Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, who lost the seat to McBath last year, is the top Republican fund-raiser at this point in the campaign with $712,518. But she is followed closely by businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene with $625,442 and state Sen. Brandon Beach with $525,632.

Political newcomer and military veteran Nicole Rodden, another Republican in the race, raised $167,841 through Sept. 30, according to her report.

The 7th District race has drawn a strong field of both Republicans and Democrats looking to succeed U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, who is retiring from Congress.

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux, who narrowly lost to Woodall last year, is the top fund-raiser with $940,022 through the third quarter. She has a large lead over the other Democratic hopefuls, with party activist Nabilah Islam in second place in the money race with $312,670.

First-term state Sen. Zahra Karinshak has raised $208,974, followed by former Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves with $117,877 and state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero with $104,383.

On the Republican side, the top fund-raiser thus far is longtime state Sen. Renee Unterman, who reported raising $805,747 through Sept. 30. Lynne Homrich, a former executive with The Home Depot Inc., is next with $670,658, followed by emergency room doctor Richard Dean McCormick with $523,724, professional educator Lerah Lee with $308,937, U.S. Air Force veteran Ben Bullock with $242,709, and businessman Mark Gonsalves with $230,215.

Georgia’s 6th Congressional District includes east Cobb, north Fulton and north DeKalb counties. The 7th District takes in most of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties.

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