Mar 21, 2022 - Politics

Abrams sues Georgia over fundraising disadvantage

Stacey Abrams speaks to a crowd in downtown Atlanta.

Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams filed a federal lawsuit Monday, seeking to take advantage of a new form of fundraising committee that Gov. Brian Kemp has already been able to use.

Why it matters: The state has not approved her leadership committee to begin fundraising because of a dispute over whether she qualifies as a nominee before the primary. She has no primary opponents in the gubernatorial election.

Catch up quick: Leadership committees were created by the state legislature last year for the benefit of select few, including the incumbent governor and major party nominees “selected in a primary election” in certain races.

  • These committees offer several advantages, including an exemption from campaign finance limits.

The intrigue: Abrams' argument hinges on a letter from state Democratic Party Chair, Rep. Nikema Williams recognizing her as the nominee.

What they're saying: Abrams' campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo wrote in an affidavit that the disadvantage causes “severe harm.”

  • "Early fundraising supports later fundraising by demonstrating a candidate's political viability and widespread appeal, particularly in a high-dollar statewide election in a swing state like Governor of Georgia," she wrote.

The other side: David Emadi, executive director of the state Campaign Finance Commission tells Axios the commission doesn't determine whether someone is a party's nominee. "Whether a candidate has been elected as a party’s nominee prior to any votes being cast or elections certified is a decision to be made by the secretary of state in consultation with the Department of Law," he said.

  • The Attorney General's office declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Of note: A judge has already sided with David Perdue, Kemp's Republican challenger over this law, after Perdue sued Kemp about it. The judge agreed with Perdue that it created an unequal, unlimited fundraising advantage.

Yes, but: The judge only barred Kemp from using the money in his primary, not a general election.


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