Judge Denies Stacey Abrams the Ability to Raise Funds the Way Brian Kemp Can

A federal judge ruled that Stacey Abrams (Georgia Democratic gubernatorial) cannot raise unlimited funds for her campaign, despite the state fundraising law that allows her possible opponent, current Governor Brian Kemp. Brian Kemp (R), to do so.

State law allows incumbent governors and their challengers from the opposing major political party to form “leadership committees” to raise unlimited funds from supporters in the state. But while incumbents are allowed to set up a committee for such purposes right away, the statute bars Abrams from doing so until after she becomes the Democratic Party’s official nominee, following the state’s primary elections.

Kemp created his leadership committee in July last yearAfter signing the bill that created this rule into law, Abrams will not have the right to create a similar committee before May at the latest.

Lawyers for Abrams had argued in their lawsuit that the elections law gave incumbents an unfair advantage, and that Abrams — who doesn’t have any challengers in the Democratic primary — should be allowed to set up her own leadership committee now as the presumptive nominee, with the same rules applied to it that Kemp has.

Judge Mark Cohen, a federal judge for the Northern District of Georgia, disagreed with these assertions. writing in his orderAny ruling in favor Abrams would amount rewriting state laws.

“Granting plaintiffs’ requested relief … would require this court to effectively rewrite the statute to recognize Abrams as the Democratic Party nominee before she has been selected in a primary,” Cohen said.

In response to this ruling, Abrams’s campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said that it was imperative that her supporters “give whatever they can” to her election campaign.

Cohen’s order gives the Republican incumbent governor a significant advantage. However, the federal judge has set some limitations on how Kemp can use the funds he raises to support his leadership committee. ruling earlier this year that Kemp can’t access those fundsUntil he wins his primary election. Still, Kemp’s ability to raise funds through the committee for months longer than Abrams is allowed to will give him a significant advantage once the general election campaign begins.

Kemp is running against former U.S. Senator David Perdue (R. Georgia). is expected to win the primaryPossibly, without the need of a second race beyond the initial May 24, election.

Recent polling showsAbrams is currently 7 points ahead of Kemp. However, the race, which is a rematch of Kemp’s and Abrams’s Highly contentious 2018 gubernatorial elections, could be much closer than that poll suggests, depending on each candidate’s ability to turn out their supporters in the general election this fall.