Abrams builds huge financial edge over Kemp in 2022

Money haul shatters 2018 gov race record

Democrat Stacey Abrams collected more than $22 million over the past two months, putting her well ahead of Gov. Brian Kemp in the race for campaign cash.

The two rivals, locked in a rematch for the state’s top office, have already topped the fundraising totals from their entire 2018 campaigns.

Abrams amassed roughly $9.8 million in campaign contributions between May 1 and June 30 along with an additional $12.3 million through her leadership committee, a financial vehicle that can accept unlimited donations and coordinate with candidates.

Kemp has lagged behind Abrams in fundraising despite an edge in the polls and the powers of incumbency. The Republican collected roughly $3.8 million in campaign contributions and an additional $3 million through his leadership committee over the same period.

Abrams also holds an enormous advantage in cash on hand, with about $18.5 million combined in her two accounts while spending aggressively on advertising, personnel and operations. Kemp’s campaign said he will report $7 million in the bank between his two accounts.

The contest is expected to set spending records. Kemp has collected more than $25 million since he took office, surpassing the roughly $21 million he amassed during his narrow victory over Abrams in 2018.

And even with a late start — Abrams entered the race in December — the Democrat has raised more than $49 million with the help of the leadership committee, compared with about $27.6 million throughout her campaign for governor in 2018.

Abrams campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo celebrated the financial haul in a four-page memo that outlined how the Democrat is racing as an underdog. She cautioned supporters not to “underestimate Brian Kemp’s fundraising capacity” and predicted outside groups would pour money into his bid.

“We are in an uphill battle,” Groh-Wargo wrote, “but our vision of One Georgia is within reach, and we are excited to make it so.”

Kemp’s campaign, which long expected to be outraised, blamed “far-left radicals from across the country.“

”Abrams and her liberal allies can — and will — continue to outraise and outspend our campaign,“ spokesman Tate Mitchell said, “but we will continue to run on Gov. Kemp’s record of putting Georgians first and securing historic economic success for our state.”

The disclosures are the first that reflect the growing importance of leadership committees in a general election race. The fundraising vehicles were created by Republicans in the General Assembly to help Kemp stay in power, but they have proved to be a boon for Abrams as well.

A judge’s ruling temporarily blocked the committees from raising cash until the GOP gubernatorial primary was decided in late May, though both rivals have quickly stocked their accounts since securing the nominations.

Democratic megadonor George Soros has contributed $2.5 million to Abrams’ committee since March, while Kemp has also taken high-dollar donations to boost his reelection bid.

Abrams’ new disclosure is only the latest indication of the growing fundraising power of Georgia Democrats after flipping the state in 2020 and sweeping both U.S. Senate runoffs in 2021.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock has set a string of fundraising records as he prepares for a bruising November matchup against GOP nominee Herschel Walker, ending the latest quarter with $25.6 million in the bank. He hasn’t reported his latest figures yet.