Abrams’ Fair Fight raises $34.5 million in a little more than a month

Fair Fight Action, a voting organization Democrat Stacey Abrams formed after losing a tight race for governor in 2018, raised $34.5 million in 39 days, starting shortly before the Nov. 3 presidential election. (Audra Melton/The New York Times)
Fair Fight Action, a voting organization Democrat Stacey Abrams formed after losing a tight race for governor in 2018, raised $34.5 million in 39 days, starting shortly before the Nov. 3 presidential election. (Audra Melton/The New York Times)

The voting organization Stacey Abrams founded in 2018 after losing a close gubernatorial election raised $34.5 million in just 39 days from late October to the last week of November, funneling a large chunk of the money into helping Democratic candidates in key races.

The $34.5 million is about what the group had raised the previous two years, during which it became the best-funded political action committee in Georgia.

Fair Fight PAC’s haul came just before and after the Nov. 3 election in which Abrams was credited with helping Joe Biden win the state’s presidential contest.

The organization spent much of its time and money before the election helping make sure people were able to vote in almost two-dozen states, with a large investment in Georgia.

Fair Fight said it brought in 357,000 new donors in the days leading up to the Nov. 3 election and since then. Some of the money is going to support the Democratic candidates in the Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoffs and numerous organizations promoting the Democratic hopefuls.

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and working hard every day to educate and mobilize voters to win the runoff,” said Fair Fight senior adviser Lauren Groh-Wargo, who was Abrams’ campaign manager. “The political universe has Georgia on its mind.”

The group also launched GAsenate.com with a video from Abrams, encouraging supporters to make contributions to Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, and Fair Fight. An ActBlue web page raised $9.8 million in its first four days and continues to bring in significant money for the Senate candidates and Fair Fight, the group said.

Fair Fight reported spending $23.5 million during the latest period. That is far less than the Senate Republican PAC has poured into the Senate races, but it is still a substantial amount for a Georgia-based group.

Its biggest individual donation, according to reports filed late Thursday, appeared to be $1 million from a Washington-based builders union. Fair Fight’s report was filled with contributions from across the country, from famous actors and musicians to schoolteachers and retirees.

Much of its spending, according to the reports, went into TV ads aimed at the U.S. Senate runoffs and major contributions to a series of Black, Asian and Latino advocacy groups. The reports also show $7 million contributed to Fair Fight Action, the group’s nonprofit wing.

The fundraising numbers make it clear Abrams will have no trouble building a gigantic war chest if she seeks a rematch with Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022, as expected.

Fair Fight Action and Fair Fight’s PAC were formed in the wake of the 2018 elections, during which Abrams and supporters raised questions about what they saw as a Republican effort to suppress the vote. Kemp, who at the time was secretary of state and thus responsible for state elections, rejected the criticism, pointing to an increase in voter registrations in the years leading up to the election.

Fair Fight Action filed a federal lawsuit in 2018 alleging widespread voting problems in Georgia, including broken-down machines, long lines, inaccurate results, canceled absentee ballots and voter registrations that either had been canceled or had gone missing. The case is ongoing.

The PAC has followed much the same fundraising pattern as Abrams’ campaign. While her campaign raised millions in Georgia, far more money flowed — often in small-dollar donations — from out-of-state contributors.

The PAC has also received contributions from Democratic mega-donors. For instance, Michael Bloomberg, the former presidential candidate and onetime mayor of New York City, donated $5 million late last year.

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