Warnock Has More Cash, But GOP Super-PAC Has Plenty for Walker

  • In Business
  • 2022-11-26 00:56:05Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock has three times as much cash as former NFL great Herschel Walker heading into the final stretch of their runoff in Georgia, but a Republican super-PAC has plenty of money to help the GOP candidate compete, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission.

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Warnock has $30 million in cash on hand, while Republican Walker has $9.8 million, the filings show. The Senate Leadership Fund, which has ties to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and is the biggest spender on Walker's behalf, had $11 million in the bank as of Nov. 16, the filings show. Citadel Enterprise Americas Inc. founder Ken Griffin is among biggest donors to the super-PAC.

The candidates face off Dec. 6 in the final Senate contest of the 2022 midterms because neither surpassed 50% of the vote in the general election a little more than two weeks ago, which included a third-party candidate. If Warnock keeps the seat, Democrats will have a 51-49 advantage in the Senate. Should Walker prevail, the chamber would remain evenly split, with Vice President Kamala Harris's tie-breaking vote giving Democrats effective control.

Warnock raised $52 million in the period between Oct. 20 through Nov. 16. Almost half of his contributions came from donors who gave less than $200. He spent $33 million and entered the last 19 days of the race with $30 million cash on hand, roughly three times as much as Walker.

After raising $21 million and spending $16 million, Walker has $9.8 million in the bank. He raised $11.7 million from small-dollar donors. Former Senator Kelly Loeffler, who lost to Warnock in a 2021 runoff, was among those giving the maximum $2,900 to Walker's campaign.

Democratic donors continue to provide a big financial advantage to their candidates. The party's Senate incumbents and challengers in key battleground states outraised their Republican rivals, all of whom were endorsed by former President Donald Trump, by an average of $36 million.

That's allowed Democrats to dominate campaign advertising, including in the Georgia runoff. Warnock and allied groups are spending $37.5 million compared with $20.9 million by Walker and the GOP super-PACs supporting him, according to AdImpact, which tracks political media expenditures.

Warnock's campaign is the biggest spender at $17.6 million, followed by Georgia Honor, a super-PAC funded by the Democratic leadership-aligned Senate Majority PAC, at $14.7 million. The Senate Leadership Fund is spending $16 million on the runoff, followed by Walker's campaign at $6.6 million.

The conservative super-PAC's biggest source of funds was One Nation, an allied political nonprofit that doesn't disclose donors, which contributed $20.6 million of so-called dark money.

Miriam Adelson, the wife of the late casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, was one of the biggest donors to the super-PAC with $2.5 million, while Citadel's billionaire founder Griffin gave $2 million. West Realm Shire Services Inc., better known by its trading name FTX US, donated $1 million on Oct. 27, about two weeks before the crypto exchange and related entities filed for bankruptcy. All three contributed before the Nov. 8 election.

Investment banker Warren Stephens and the American Petroleum Institute, the trade association of the oil and gas industry, each donated $1 million after the midterm.

Walker has also gotten support from 34N22, a super-PAC named in part for the uniform number he wore as a standout for the University of Georgia Bulldogs in their 1980 national championship season. 34N22 raised $1.4 million and had $1.3 million in the bank. Home Depot Inc. co-founder Bernard Marcus gave $500,000 for the runoff.

Georgia Honor, which is supporting Warnock, didn't file a pre-runoff disclosure with the FEC. The Senate Majority PAC, which sponsors Georgia Honor, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Updates with details on donors to Senate Leadership Fund, in 11th paragraph. An earlier version corrected cash on hand figure for the Senate Leadership Fund in the second paragraph.)

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