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Out-of-state donors largely funding ex-Trump aide in Georgia congressional race

Phoebe Quinton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Political News

ATLANTA — Five Republican candidates and two Democrats are fighting to win their party’s nomination in Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District in one of the state’s most competitive U.S. House primaries.

Yet, some of these candidates’ biggest financial supporters cannot cast a vote for them because they don’t live in the state.

Brian Jack, who served as an aide to then-President Donald Trump, has raised the most money in the race. But about 75% of his itemized donations — contributions of $200 or more — came from individuals outside of Georgia.

By comparison, out-of-state donations accounted for less than one-third of the donations received by the other candidates in the race, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of the latest fundraising data by the Federal Election Commission.

The donations indicate that Jack has connections and support from outside the district but not much else, said Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia.

“He has no base to build upon,” Bullock said, “where those who have held office at some point in the past at least would be known by those voters in areas which they represented.”

 

The 3rd District spans all or part of 15 west and west-central Georgia counties ranging from Haralson County in the north to parts of Columbus at its southern end. The district favors Republican candidates. U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, a Pike County Republican, represents the district, but he announced in December that he would not seek reelection.

Jack grew up in the district, but he has not held elected office in the state like three of the other Republican candidates who served in the Georgia Senate or House — Mike Crane, Mike Dugan and Philip Singleton. Jack worked as a political director in Trump’s administration. The fifth Republican candidate, Jim Bennett, is a former police officer and retired IT professional.

On the Democratic side, Val Almonord and Maura Keller are both U.S. Army veterans. After leaving active duty, Almonord spent most of his career as a doctor with the Military Health System. Keller works as a nuclear medicine technologist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Atlanta.

Jack’s out-of-state contributions push him to the top of the leader board in total donations, with more than $500,000 sent from individuals who live outside of Georgia and more than $900,000 total, a figure that includes small, unitemized donations and transfers from other committees.

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