Stacey Abrams has raised more than $9.2 million since entering the race for governor in December, setting a blistering fundraising pace that eclipsed Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
The Democrat will report about $7.2 million in cash on hand at the end of the financial quarter after collecting contributions from more than 100,000 donors in just two months, a campaign aide said Wednesday.
Abrams outpaced Kemp, who raised $7.4 million over the final six months of the year. He ended the year with about $12.7 million in the bank.
The other top candidate for governor, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, has yet to disclose his fundraising figures. The Republican, who joined the race against Kemp at former President Donald Trump’s urging, has tried to downplay expectations by saying the “status quo” fears him.
The race for governor is already on track to shatter the Georgia spending record established in 2018, when more than $100 million was spent on the contest that ended with Kemp’s win. In that race, Abrams shelled out $27.4 million while Kemp spent $21.4 million. Both could far surpass those sums this year.
Abrams’ fundraising builds off her national profile as a voting rights advocate and prominent party leader.
Abrams’ loss to Kemp in 2018 coincided with Abrams’ launch of the Fair Fight political organization, which has collected more than $100 million in three years. It ended 2021 with roughly $19.5 million in the bank and is expected to boost Abrams and other Democrats this election cycle, just as it did in 2020.
Even so, Kemp enjoys other distinct fundraising advantages from the power of the governor’s office — and from a new law designed to give incumbents a significant financial boost.
It lets Kemp and a few other top lawmakers and party nominees create special committees that can raise unlimited contributions from donors. A federal judge is expected to soon rule on a legal challenge filed by Perdue asserting that the law creates an uneven playing field.
“We knew Stacey Abrams would have all the far-left money in the world as she campaigns on a radical agenda for our state, but polling shows Georgians aren’t buying it,” said Kemp spokesman Tate Mitchell, referring to recent public polling that showed Abrams trailing the governor.
Abrams’ 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 amassed $23 million in his campaign account — more than four times higher than his closest Republican rival, former football star Herschel Walker.
Even down-ticket Democratic candidates are reporting hefty sums. State Sen. Jen Jordan, the party’s frontrunner for attorney general, and state Rep. Bee Nguyen, a candidate for secretary of state, both raised more than $1 million for their campaigns.
“Georgians deserve to live in a state of opportunity, not a state of inaction,” Abrams said on MSNBC early Wednesday. “And I’m going to be the person to lead that.”