Georgia 2018: Hunter Hill sets a $1M bar in gov race

State Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Atlanta. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Republican Hunter Hill said Thursday he’s raised more than $1 million in the race for Georgia governor, a day ahead of a reporting deadline that will be an early test for gubernatorial candidates.

The state senator said in a statement that his fundraising shows that “Georgia Republicans are ready for a conservative outsider to change the way state government works.”

Hill and the other five announced candidates to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal have scrambled for weeks to meet fundraising goals ahead of Friday’s deadline. The amount of money they collect – and the names of their donors – will be pored over as an initial gauge of their support.

Hill’s campaign hopes his seven-figure take proves he’s a top-tier candidate. A U.S. Army veteran, Hill has tried to position himself as the “true conservative” in the race since announcing his run in April. He has staked out a staunchly conservative platform, railing against “sanctuary cities” and vowing to eliminate the state income tax.

Two other Republican rivals, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, are also expected to surpass the $1 million mark. A fourth GOP contender, state Sen. Michael Williams, is likely to dip into his own personal fortune to help finance his campaign. Several other potential GOP candidates are exploring a run.

On the Democratic side, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and state Rep. Stacey Evans have sent out a flurry of fundraising appeals. Evans is also expected to be able to buoy her campaign with personal loans, thanks in part to her multimillion-dollar stake in a legal settlement she helped secure.

The full reports won’t be available until early July, but the fundraising is sure to pale in comparison to the unprecedented spending in Georgia’s 6th District race. That contest cost more than $50 million and was the most expensive U.S. House race ever.

More: Georgia governor race: Who is in 2018

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