Record-breaking fundraising in Georgia's Senate races: Where it came from and where it's going

Georgia Senate candidates set records raking in over a third of a billion dollars in just two months in the highly anticipated pair of runoff races

Georgia Senate candidates set records raking in more than a third of a billion dollars in just two months in the highly anticipated pair of runoff races.

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The races will determine control of the Senate. If both or one of the Republicans win, the upper chamber can serve to check Democrats’ legislative agenda. If both Democrats win their dogged fights, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking vote.

Here’s a look at where that record-breaking money came from, and where it’s being spent:

Where is the money coming from? 

Between Oct. 15 and Dec. 16, Democrat Jon Ossoff raised the most, totaling $106.8 million, according to FEC filings. That amount, and the amounts raised by all other Georgia Senate candidates for that matter, far surpass the record-shattering $57 million Jaime Harrison raised in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Throughout the campaign season, Ossoff has raised $138.3 million as of Dec. 16, making him the best-funded candidate of all time for a single Congressional election, excluding leadership.


For the 33-year-old media executive, 45.13 percent of funds came from small-dollar donors who offered less than $200. Large individual contributions made up 49.26% and PAC contributions and self-financing accounted for less than 1 percent. “Other” donations accounted for 4.87 percent, according to Open Secrets.

The “other” category tends to include dividends and interest and money from joint fundraising committees. It could impact the small-versus-large donor breakdown.

Meanwhile, most outside spending won’t be disclosed until after the election, as senatorial committees and many other outside groups won’t have to report their numbers until January.

Still, Ossoff put out a call for more donations in the final week of the campaign. Ossoff claimed that Republicans were working to disenfranchise voters. "And I'm asking people for help because we need the resources... to fight back and defend voting rights in Georgia,” he said during a CNN appearance on Monday. Ossoff reported having more than $17.4 million still unspent.

Rev. Raphael Warnock trailed closely behind, raising $103.4 million in the two-month period to total at $124.3 million.

The reverend reported small individual donations from 48.64 of donors, while 46.00 of funding came from individual donations over $200. Warnock did not have any self-financing, and PAC contributions amounted to 6 percent. “Other” donations accounted for 4.78 percent.

Sen. David Perdue, who is facing off against Ossoff, raised $68.1 million over two months and $89.1 million throughout the election cycle until Dec. 16.

Perdue, a former Fortune 500 CEO, garnered 21.85 of his funds from small donations and 52.08 from large individual contributions. PAC donations accounted for 6 percent and the senator did not self-finance. The other category accounted for 20.07 of his donations.


Sen. Kelly Loeffler, challenged by Warnock, raised $64.0 million to total $92.1 million.

Loeffler, worth a half-billion dollars, self-financed over a quarter of her campaign, offering nearly 24 million. Small individual contributions made up 21.38 percent of her coffers and large ones accounted for 39.06 percent. “Other” donations account for 11.39 percent.

Where is the money being spent? 

Where funds are directed is less obvious. According to FEC reports, much of the money is being funneled to marketing companies and media placement firms, which spend the money on a variety of media.

Social media and digital 

According to Facebook’s figures, Warnock has spent the most -- $985,794 -- advertising on the social media platform in the last 30 days. Ossoff has spent $327,744, Perdue has spent $196,469 and Loeffler, $115,131. These numbers don’t include ads bought on their behalf from outside groups.

Warnock’s campaign has pushed a recent focus in Google advertising. In a 7-day period ending Dec. 19, Warnock spent more than both Republican candidates have spent on Google ads in total-- $1,243,600. In total, Warnock has spent about $4.30 million on Google ads.

Loeffler, meanwhile, spent about $1.20 million on Google ads.

Ossoff has spent roughly $6.75 million on the platform, dwarfing his opponent Perdue’s $180,400.


TV and radio

In total, the four campaigns, outside groups such as Super PACs and the national parties have spent roughly half a billion dollars to run spots or reserve time for TV commercials ahead of the Jan. 5 elections as of last week, according to two of the top national ad tracking firms.

And while the campaigns of Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have outspent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, Republican outside groups have dramatically outspent their Democratic counterparts. Do the math and the Republicans have a roughly $40 million spending advantage over the Democrats, according to AdImpact and Kantar/CMAG figures.

Fox News' Remy Numa and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.