Kemp Racing to stay competitive with Abrams in fundraising
That means when new fundraising numbers come out in a few days, the disclosures will likely show Abrams taking a huge lead over Kemp. The incumbent has therefore stepped up its fundraising efforts to keep up with the times as much as possible.
Abrams officially joined the race last December — about nine months later than the incumbent governor — but had just $1.6 million behind him in fundraising, according to financial disclosure forms from each campaign committee. filed in March. By now, Abrams may already have passed Kemp; the second quarter filing period ended June 30 and results will be released in early July.
“Stacey Abrams has always been an elite fundraiser. And I don’t think that dynamic is going to change,” said Chip Lake, a veteran Georgia GOP consultant. “Look, he [Kemp] doesn’t have to outspend Stacey Abrams, but he can’t be thrown out of the water.
Along with the tenure advantage, Kemp actually came out stronger after his bitter primary run. Trump’s rage at Kemp for not backing his false claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent threatened to split the party, but Kemp’s landslide victory over Trump-endorsed David Perdue in May gave the governor a jerk towards the general elections.
But to keep up with the speed of Abrams’ fundraising, Kemp’s team is expanding his contacts with donors outside of Georgia who can contribute six-figure checks to his PAC leadership, and he’s paying several fundraising consultants. funds to do the job.
“We entered this general election fully aware that we will be overwhelmed and spent,” said Kemp spokesman Cody Hall. “But you know, it’s a question of how well we can keep up, and we’re confident about that.”
Hall added that fundraising nationally is something Kemp could have done better in 2018 and has made it a priority now.
This includes in-person introductions to some of the party’s biggest donors. Last October, Kemp flew to Wisconsin to meet Liz Uihlein, the billionaire CEO of shipping giant Uline, which has a campus in Braselton, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta.
Uihlein’s political adviser, Tony Povkovich, told POLITICO the two discussed their families, voter integrity, the state’s recovery from Covid, and the port of Savannah. Afterwards, Uihlein wrote two checks to Kemp: one for $250,000 in January and another for $150,000 in April, according to Kemp’s Georgians First Leadership PAC financial disclosure forms.
Some of the PAC’s largest donations come from national companies, like Uline, that have operations in Georgia, according to the most recent financial disclosure forms. One of them is Majestic Realty, a private California-based commercial real estate development company with a regional office in Atlanta, which gave Kemp $250,000 last November.
Another is SDH Management Service, a two-year-old LLC linked to Brett Steele, vice president and general counsel of Smith Douglas Homes, a Woodstock, Georgia-based home construction company that works throughout the Southeast. SDH sent the PAC $150,000 in July 2021.
Kemp has also drawn national figures to fundraisers, including former President George W. Bush, who donated $5,000 at an event in Texas.
“When you’re in a firefight, it doesn’t matter where your ammunition was made, you just need it,” Georgia GOP chairman John Watson said in the 2018 election cycle. “And so because of that, there’s will have and will continue to be aggressive outreach to national donors and small donor programs I anticipate this will be absolutely a critical part of [Kemp’s] global financing plan.
To increase its number of donations against Abrams, Kemp’s campaign also retained the services of several financial advisory firms. Campaign Consulting Group handled fundraising in the state, according to Tate Mitchell, Kemp’s campaign press secretary. Kemp’s team also paid for help from Washington, D.C.-based companies Dogwood Consulting Group, which worked with the Senate Leadership Fund, and Briarwood Strategies, which was hired by the Scalise Leadership Fund and Drew Ferguson for the Congress this cycle and last, for the fundraising council, according to disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.
Leadership PACs are new to this election cycle in Georgia. For the first time, gubernatorial candidates can lead leadership PACS that accept unlimited donations and coordinate directly with candidates in addition to their main campaign committees. Kemp has already raised an additional $4.7 million through this new campaign tool.
It is not yet known how much Abrams’ leadership PAC has brought. Abrams launched her PAC in March but was forced to halt contributions until she won the primary in May and became the official Democratic Party candidate for governor; because he is the incumbent, the law allowed Kemp to raise money for his PAC even before the primary.
Based on early disclosures filed by his contributors, Abrams has at least $3.5 million: $1 million of which came from Democracy II, a PAC run by liberal mega-donor George Soros; $1 million from the Democratic Governors Association; and $1.5 million from Fair Fight Inc, the political action committee arm of the nonprofit founded by Abrams in 2018.
Her campaign committee has about $20.8 million — slightly behind Kemp’s campaign committee, though she raised funds less than half the time. She also suspended fundraising after the Supreme Court’s draft ruling on abortion was made public to support reproductive rights groups.
Georgia’s razor-thin election margins have made fundraising even more competitive since the last gubernatorial election. Joe Biden won the state in his presidential campaign by less than 12,000 votes. The Senate races of the last cycle were won by the Sens Democrats. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock by 50,000 and 90,000 votes, respectively, in runoff elections. And the four Senate candidates on the ballot broke fundraising records; In a single two-month reporting period before the election, the candidates brought in more than $340 million combined.
Abram once said Georgia was a ‘cheap date’ persuading Democrats to campaign there before the 2020 general election. She was right about winning more Democratic office holders, as the 2020 cycle results show, but those results came at high costs, and this year’s races are expected to continue the trend.
“Each cycle becomes more expensive. And I think this one will be more expensive than the last – like every future election cycle,” Watson said. “So whatever the costs before, I can only guarantee you one thing: it will be more this time.”