An underdog candidate who was massively outspent in his primary race in Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District walked away with a victory in Tuesday’s runoff election.
Chris West, a pro-Trump candidate, notched a victory against Nikki Haley and Karl Rove endorsee Jeremy Hunt. The margin of victory was slim – less than 1000 votes – but it was enough for West to advance to the general election against Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA-02).
Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who often found herself at odds with former President Donald Trump, even hit the campaign trail to stump for Hunt.
Not only did West defeat the Republican establishment’s preferred candidate, but he did so with a much smaller budget.
Federal Election Commission records show that West won the primary election having raised less than $300,000, and $50,000 of that money was a personal loan to his own campaign. Those fundraising numbers were current as of March 31, the end of the first quarter and the first financial disclosure period in 2022. They are likely to increase when financial reports are due at the end of June.
On the other hand, Hunt had tallied nearly $1 million in contributions as of March 31.
He used a Joint Fundraising Committee (JFC) to raise more than $47,000.
“Joint fundraising committees can be created by two or more candidates, PACs or party committees to share the costs of fundraising, and split the proceeds. Participants in the JFC can’t take any more money from a donor than they could if the money was given directly, but this vehicle allows a donor to write one very large check,” according to OpenSecrets. “Before the 2014 McCutcheon v. FEC decision, the checks donors wrote to JFCs were subject to overall aggregate limits. Following the decision, those limits were removed, opening up the possibility of JFCs that involve many candidates or committees, which can then solicit one donor for a mega-contribution.”
The Ledger-Enquirer reported that Hunt and political action committees (PACs) associated with his campaign spent more than $2 million on his behalf.
The Republican Majority Fund, a PAC run on behalf of Republican leadership in Washington, also contributed $5,000 to Hunt’s campaign.
West could not be reached for comment Thursday.
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