Three Forsyth County candidates running for state offices have brought in more than $550,000 combined in campaign fundraising, per their first financial reports.
The 2018 campaign filings, which were due by midnight between Monday and Tuesday, July 10 and 11, were recently published by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly known as the State Ethics Commission.
According to the reports, leading the pack is District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan, a west Forsyth resident who is running for lieutenant governor, who brought in $330,000 in the first 75 days of his campaign.
“We have definitely caught a lot of folks off guard with the quality and quantity of dollars raised in our first disclosure,” Duncan said. “I don’t think folks expected me to raise that much, but we’re not finished yet, and we’ve got a lot more money to raise to tell our story statewide as we get closer to the election.”
Duncan is vying to fill the position being vacated by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is running for governor.
He trails his opponents in fundraising so far, with District 17 state Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough) having brought in $355,000 and District 48 state Sen. and President Pro Tempore David Shafer (R-Duluth) collecting $900,000.
Marc Morris, a local businessman who is running for Duncan’s state House seat, has raised $25,276, and Greg Dolezal, an activist in Forsyth governmental committees and former planning board member who is running for current state Sen. Michael Williams’ District 27 seat, raised $221,000 in the first 24 days of his campaign.
Williams announced June 1 he was entering the gubernatorial race and has raised $1.05 million thus far, the least of the Republican gubernatorial candidates, though he announced his intention to run months after the others.
Dolezal said his “historic amount” is the most ever received by a non-incumbent candidate’s first financial filing in Forsyth County.
“The citizens of Forsyth County are speaking with one voice and they are ready for a no-nonsense, principled conservative in the state Senate,” he said. “I am truly honored to have earned the support of hundreds of our neighbors, families and businesses, and I am ready to fight on their behalf each and every day.”
Dolezal said of the $221,000 brought in, $121,000 was raised from more than 150 individual donations and $100,000 through a personal loan he obtained.
“Our campaign had nearly 300 people come to the kickoff campaign, which demonstrates tremendous grassroots support,” Dolezal said. “Grassroots candidates often have a hard time raising money, [but] not us.
“This combination of human and financial capital puts the campaign on a solid footing to take our conservative message to the voters.”
Mike Dudgeon, Dolezal’s campaign chairman and former Republican state Representative, said the amount Dolezal has brought in was impressive.
“I told Greg that raising $50,000 in just a short few weeks would be an amazing milestone for the campaign, and he beat it handily with $120,000,” he said. “I cannot think of any candidate in Forsyth County who has done better in fundraising at this stage in the campaign. It is proof that he has a broad and dedicated group of Forsyth County voters behind him.”
Neither Dolezal nor Morris have anyone running against them, so far.
Candidates’ next filing period ends Jan. 31, 2018, with campaign contribution disclosure reports (CCDRs) due by Feb. 5.
Election years require six CCDR reports, whereas non-election years require two.
The 2018 candidates all announced their various candidacies in the spring or early summer, thus exempting them from the Jan. 31, 2017 filing requirement.