The latest campaign disclosures show the statehouse establishment backed former Brookhaven Mayor J. Max Davis in a big way in today’s runoff election for a Georgia House seat.
The Republican Davis faces former Georgia Tech quarterback Taylor Bennett, a Democrat, in the election to replace former Rep. Mike Jacobs, whom Gov. Nathan Deal appointed to a DeKalb State Court judgeship.
The race is considered important beyond the borders of House District 80 because if Bennett wins, Republicans could lose their effective supermajority in the House. That would empower Democrats to be able to block constitutional amendments, which require support from two-thirds of representatives. There are currently 60 Democrats out of 180 House seats.
Deal hosted a fundraiser for Davis, and the candidate’s latest reports filed Friday night showed he collected checks from more than 60 Republican lawmakers as well as the House’s powerful Republican Trust political action committee.
He also received contributions from at least a half a dozen statehouse lobbyists and lobby groups, as well as the Georgia Chamber and the lobby groups for auto dealers, optometrists, trial lawyers and manufacturers. Davis, whose father served in the state House, also collected a $1,000 check from a national group pushing school choice.
In total, Davis reported collecting about $87,000 in the latest reporting period and $128,000 overall.
That’s about twice as much as Bennett reported. The Democrat reported raising about $42,000 in the last month and $69,000 overall.
Bennett received money from about a dozen Democratic lawmakers, state Democratic Party Chairman DuBose Porter, and several union and teacher groups that traditionally back Democratic candidates. He also got a $2,500 check from his former Georgia Tech teammate, NFL star Calvin Johnson, in the latest reporting period.