Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff each brought in more than $100 million in a two-month period, setting a blistering fundraising pace in their quest to topple two Republican incumbents in Georgia and seize control of the US Senate, new filings show.
Warnock reported total receipts of more than $103 million between October 15 and December 16, far surpassing the nearly $64 million collected by Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the Republican incumbent he is trying to unseat. Ossoff, meanwhile, raised even more: $106.8 million, according to his filing Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, a sum that shatters fundraising records in a year when Democratic candidates already had raised astounding amounts from energized online contributors.
Ossoff aides say his campaign attracted more than 1.4 million donors in two months.
Republican Sen. David Perdue, Ossoff’s opponent, reported total receipts of a little more than $68 million, his filing shows.
The frenzied fundraising underscores the high stakes for the narrowly divided Senate. If Ossoff and Warnock win both seats in the January 5 runoffs, their party will control the chamber since Vice President-elect Kamala Harris can break ties in the Senate.
And new data show television, radio and digital advertising to influence the runoffs already has rocketed past half a billion dollars since Election Day — putting the contests on track to become two of the most expensive Senate races in US history.
Ossoff has led the spending with more than $100 million in ad buys and future reservations, according to data from Kantar’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. Warnock has bought nearly $88 million in advertising. Both Democratic candidates have exceeded the spending by Loeffler and Perdue on advertising, according to Kantar.
But Republican outside groups, funded by some of the party’s largest donors, have helped make up ground in the advertising war. Three super PACs associated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — American Crossroads, the Senate Leadership Fund and the newly launched Peachtree PAC — have bought more than $137 million in advertising to sway the contests.
Warnock and Loeffler each had more than $20 million in available cash for the final sprint to the January 5 runoffs, Thursday’s filings show. Loeffler has tapped her personal fortune to help fund the race. Warnock’s reliance on small donors — more than half of his contributions from individuals came in amounts of $200 or less — provides him with a potential pool of donors to tap for more donations before hitting contribution limits.
Ossoff had about $17.5 million remaining in cash reserves; Perdue, $16 million.
Nearly half of Ossoff’s individual contributions came in small amounts of $200 or less, compared to about a little less than a third of Perdue’s.
A Democratic organization focused on the ground game also reported raising big sums.
The new filings show Fair Fight, a super PAC aligned with former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, took in more than $22 million between November 24 and December 16 and sent $11 million to a range of other groups — including Black PAC, which is working to drive turnout among African American voters in the state.
Big donors to Fair Fight include labor groups, such as the National Education Association and the United Auto Workers Union, which gave $1 million apiece. The campaign of Maine Democrat Sara Gideon, who ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate this year, also contributed $75,000 of its leftover campaign money to the group.
Another high-profile donor to Fair Fight: actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who gave $5,000 earlier this month.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.