Stacey Abrams campaigned for governor of Georgia in 2018 against Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Abrams won more votes than any other Democrat governor candidate in Georgia’s history, but she narrowly lost the election. Abrams is once again challenging Republican Brian Kemp for governor of Georgia. However, her One Georgia campaign committee has suffered a setback. Last week, a federal judge struck down a lawsuit her committee filed dealing with campaign financing. Here, Election Central takes a closer look at what happened, and what this ruling could mean for Abrams’ campaign.
Abrams’ lawsuit challenged a new Georgia campaign financing law. Up until recently, it was illegal for lawmakers to raise money for their re-elections during legislative sessions. That’s to prevent the possibility of a legislator being tempted with special interest money to vote a certain way on legislation and put that money into campaign funds. But the new law makes it legal for these candidates to create “leadership committees,” which can raise campaign funding without limits and may do so during legislative sessions. Only the governor, lieutenant governor, a party’s nominee for one of those positions, and the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the state House and Senate can create one of these special committees. The law was signed by Governor Kemp.
Abrams and her One Georgia committee challenged the law in federal court, saying that it gives some candidates, and especially incumbents, an unfair financial advantage over others. The committee requested that Abrams be allowed unlimited campaign financing as well. But the judge ruled against One Georgia, stating that because Abrams is not yet the official Democratic Party nominee, the new law doesn’t apply to her.
Abrams is currently running unopposed in the May 24 Democratic primary. Governor Kemp will face former U.S. Senator David Perdue in the Republican primary. Perdue also challenged the new law in court, in front of the same judge as Abrams. In Purdue’s case, the judge ruled that Kemp could keep raising unlimited funds, but he can’t use them against Perdue in the primary and must save them for the general election instead.