Abrams raises $11.7 million in Georgia governor's race

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is unopposed in the May 24 primary election for her party’s nomination for governor, said she had more than $8 million in cash on hand.

Michael A. McCoy / AP file

Donors gave a towering $11.7 million to the campaign of Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams in the three-month period that ended April 30, her campaign for governor announced Wednesday.

Abrams, who is unopposed in the May 24 primary election for her party’s nomination, said she had more than $8 million in cash on hand. Abrams had $7.2 million in cash at the end of January, meaning she spent almost all of the huge sum she raised during the period.

The heavy spending means Abrams has less cash on hand than the $10.7 million that Kemp has. He raised $2.7 million during the period, hampered by a state law that prohibits sitting officeholders from accepting contributions while state lawmakers were meeting. Kemp raised his money in the 26 days following the April 4 end of the session.

Kemp’s cash pile shrank some as he also spent, seeking to defeat his chief rival for the Republican nomination, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue. That means Kemp’s lead in cash on hand shrank somewhat.

Perdue has not yet disclosed his fundraising and spending for the period. The challenger has struggled to tap the same network of big donors that sustained his two Senate runs, despite his endorsement by former President Donald Trump. After having less than $1 million in cash on hand at the end of January, Perdue hinted he would crack his own $50 million fortune to try to keep up with Kemp’s spending.

Abrams temporarily paused her own fundraising to urge donors to instead give to five groups that support abortion rights after the leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision establishing a nationwide right to abortion. Her campaign resumed its own fundraising late Wednesday while urging its donors to continue giving to the groups.

The Abrams campaign says 187,000 separate donors have given money since December, one measure of the fundraising powerhouse that Georgia Democrats are building as they try to build on recent success in the state. Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, trying to defend his Senate seat, raised $13.6 million in the first three months of 2022. His campaign said that was the most ever raised by a U.S. Senate candidate in the first quarter of an election year.

Fundraising in Georgia has also seen a dispute over Kemp’s use of a leadership committee, a special state fundraising vehicle that allowed the governor to collect unlimited contributions and coordinate spending with his campaign. Both Perdue and Abrams sued over the committee, saying it was unfair that Kemp could take in large amounts while Perdue and Abrams were barred until they won their party primaries.

After an earlier ruling that Kemp could not spend money from the committee against Perdue, U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen ruled last week that Kemp’s Georgians First Leadership Committee cannot solicit or receive contributions until after the primary election and any possible runoff that makes him the Republican nominee for governor.

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