Georgia candidates set early fundraising bar with millions from donors

AJC // Tamar Hallerman & Greg Bluestein

Next door in the 7th Congressional District, three Democratic candidates combined to raise about $500,000. But this is but the opening salvo: No high-profile Republican has entered the race yet, and more Democrats could also join the contest.

Democrats see the race for the seat — which covers parts of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties — as one of the party’s juiciest pickup opportunities: U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall’s narrow victory in November over Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux was the closest race in the nation.

Woodall isn’t running again, and Bourdeaux followed up his decision by launching another campaign for the seat. She’s raised $370,000 in the seven weeks since announcing her comeback bid. Her campaign said that haul is the most of any congressional challenger in the nation, excluding special elections.