Jan 9, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Stacey Abrams campaign reports $1.4 million in debt

Stacey Abrams at a podium

Stacey Abrams gives her concession speech on Nov. 8. Photo: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Stacey Abrams campaign reported more than $1.4 million in debts Monday, after a blockbuster 2022 election that saw the operation raise more than $113 million.

Why it matters: Axios first reported news of the debt last month, but Monday's filings to the state campaign finance commission clarify the scope of the campaign's troubles after a nearly 8-point loss to two-time opponent and GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.

Driving the news: Abrams' campaign and leadership committee reported a combined $1.42 million in debt to her lawyers; an opposition research and policy consulting firm; and a media strategy, media buying and production company.

  • The largest line item was nearly $1.2 million owed by the leadership committee One Georgia to her media firm, AL Media.

Be smart: AL Media was the campaign operation's highest-paid vendor, receiving nearly $54 million to produce ads and purchase extensive TV and radio airtime.

By the numbers: Between her campaign and leadership committee, Abrams has just under $100,000 in leftover cash on hand.

The other side: Kemp ended up raising $90 million during the election cycle, and reported more than $5.2 million in cash on hand between his leadership committee and campaign.

The big picture: Abrams' campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, previously told Axios that a “cavalcade of negative press and negative polling” made fundraising difficult in the final months.

  • She said the campaign has engaged brokers to sell their donor and voter contact databases to try to pay down the debt.

Flashback: Money became so tight by the end of the high-profile campaign that most of the 180 full-time staffers were not paid past a week after the November election, a shocking timeframe for such a well-funded campaign.

  • Abrams also was forced to cut her weekly ad buys from between $2 million and $3 million in early October to $825,000 in the final week of that month.
  • Kemp spent more than $2.6 million that same week.
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