Four years ago, Stacey Abrams’ struggles with debt became a favorite Republican attack during her run for governor. As she wages a second bid for Georgia’s top job, financial disclosures show that won’t be an issue this time.
Abrams now has a net worth of roughly $3.17 million that’s mostly tied up in real estate and investments. She’s built a multimillion-dollar business writing books and appearing on the speaking circuit, according to a disclosure that shows she’s earned more than $6.5 million since the beginning of 2019.
Gov. Brian Kemp has yet to disclose his most recent financial reports, though he has reported extensive holdings in the past. Abrams’ other Republican rival, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, reported Wednesday a net worth of roughly $50 million in his financial disclosure.
Abrams’ finances came under the microscope in 2018, when she reported roughly $520,000 in assets that included her Atlanta townhouse and an advance for an upcoming book on leadership. Her net worth then was roughly $110,000.
What caught attention was her disclosure that she owed the Internal Revenue Service roughly $54,000 over a two-year span, a revelation that ignited attacks from the GOP. She repaid the debt in 2019, closing off a potential weakness ahead of another run for governor.
Rather than downplaying the topic in 2018, Abrams took the unusual step of speaking openly about her financial struggles on the campaign trail. While she said deferring the tax payments in 2015 and 2016 to help pay her family’s medical expenses wasn’t the “smartest move,” it gave her flexibility to support them.
Abrams, a tax attorney, also penned a column embracing the debt that gained national attention, and she invoked her debt to paint her wealthier opponents as out of touch. During town halls and small-scale fundraisers, she repeatedly cited her financial struggles to connect with voters facing similar challenges.
“Sometimes we stumble and we have to have a leader who understands those struggles,” she said at one event. “Because falling down does not mean you have to stay there — and stay silent.”
Her debt became a go-to GOP target once Abrams secured her party’s nomination, as Republicans questioned whether she could effectively manage the state’s budget if she struggled to meet her personal financial responsibilities.
“Stacey Abrams wants to raise your taxes,” one pro-Kemp TV attack asserted, “but didn’t pay hers.”
After her 2018 bid catapulted her visibility to new heights, making her a household name to political junkies nationwide, her net worth also soared.
In her most recent financial disclosure, Abrams reported roughly $320,000 in cash on hand and $1.8 million worth of real estate holdings, most of it a home she bought days before the general election in 2020 that’s valued at $1.2 million. A second home she bought, in Stone Mountain, is for her parents, Abrams’ campaign said.
She reported earning more than $1.5 million over the past three years from the Harry Walker Agency, an elite booking firm. And the Loewenthal Co. — a full-service literary agency — has paid more than $3.5 million since 2019 for books she wrote or is set to release.
Her spokesman Seth Bringman said she gave 37 paid speeches in 2021, which included a 12-stop nationwide speaking tour.
She also listed receiving about $700,000 from the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal New York think tank, between 2019 and 2021. She disclosed that she served as executive director of the Southern Economic Advancement Project — which she founded — for the organization.
She did not report any income from Fair Fight, the voting rights group she founded after losing the 2018 governor’s race. Fair Fight PAC has raised more than $100 million since then and has played a major role in bolstering Democratic Party efforts in Georgia and across the country.
Perdue’s fortune included roughly $17 million in cash on hand, a Sea Island estate valued at $2.4 million and an additional $21 million in investments.
His assets include a $464,000 stake in Cardlytics, a financial company at the center of a Justice Department investigation in 2020 after Perdue sold more than $1 million worth of its stock. Investigators closed the case in mid-2020 without charges.
He reported earning about $6 million from investments in his last four years in the U.S. Senate.