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Kingston Outraises Ga. Senate Potentials, As Gingrey Maintains Cash Lead Kingston Outraises Ga. Senate Potentials, As Gingrey Maintains Cash Le...

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Kingston Outraises Ga. Senate Potentials, As Gingrey Maintains Cash Lead


U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., announces his bid for the U.S. Senate at a press conference, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)  

Though he isn't officially in the race yet, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., leads his colleagues seeking to replace Sen. Saxby Chambliss with an impressive $845,600 haul in the first quarter of the year.

But his $1.75 million warchest puts him in the middle of the pack. Rep. Phil Gingrey, who officially entered the race just days before the March 31 reporting deadline, continues to lead the state's delegation in cash on hand. Gingrey raised just over $666,000 during the period and finished March with $2.4 million at his disposal. Gingrey's fundraising reports are not yet publicly available but were provided to Hotline On Call by his campaign.

Gingrey is followed closely by Rep. Tom Price, who has $2.1 million cash on hand. Price has said he won't make a decision about whether to run until after the House has wrapped up its budget negotiations in May, but his $570,979 first quarter haul -- nearly twice what he brought in during the first quarter in 2011 -- and his largest cash on hand figure to date could encourage him to take the plunge.

Rep. Paul Broun, who announced his candidacy in early February and was the only declared candidate in the race for a month and a half, raised slightly more than $209,000 for his Senate bid. He continued to lag far behind his potential competitors in cash in the bank, reporting just $217,136 on hand at the end of March. Broun's report, like Gingrey's, is not yet publicly available but was provided by his campaign.

Broun didn't sound worried in a statement to On Call on Tuesday. "We have a great Finance Committee set up that is focused on planning some major fundraising events for the 2nd quarter, and I look forward to seeing the investments we have made start to come to fruition," he said.

Broun, who has a history of controversial statements, has been singled out since Chambliss announced his retirement as a potentially worrisome candidate for Republicans as they try to rebuild the party brand following their 2012 losses in what initially looked like easy GOP Senate victories (see Missouri, Indiana).

Kingston, in particular, has sought to position himself as the establishment alternative and his campaign has frequently highlighted his ties to Gov. Nathan Deal's administration. A spokesperson said that Phil Wilheit Jr., whose father is Deal's campaign chairman, is co-chairing Kingston's fundraising efforts, for example. Deal, meanwhile, has said he will not endorse in the race.

On the Democratic side, Rep. John Barrow, who has reportedly been huddling with pollsters and supporters about a potential bid, appears to have a ways to go in catching up to his GOP colleagues. Barrow reported raising just over $436,000 during the first quarter and finished March with a little more than $439,500 on hand.

Former Sen. Sam Nunn's daughter Michelle Nunn has also been mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported this week that Nunn and Barrow will meet soon to discuss which of them will run for the Senate, though Barrow's spokesperson denied that such a meeting was on the schedule.

Other Republican potentials include Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who is considered unlikely to run in a race against Price. Republicans in the state see her as a likely candidate for Price's seat in the House, should he mount a bid for the upper chamber.

Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that Deal's campaign chairman Phil Wilheit Sr. would serve as a co-chairman of Kingston's fundraising efforts. It is his son, Phil Wilheit Jr.

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