Stacey Abrams' campaign manager admits they got 'blown out,' now deep in debt

December 21, 2022

Stacey Abrams, the twice-failed Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate, was decisively defeated in November, and unlike in 2018, this time it appears that she and her team have admitted that they have lost, TheBlaze reported.

In fact, a top staffer for the Abrams campaign recently acknowledged, "We did not just lose, we got blown out."

In debt following blow-out loss

That stunning admission came within an exclusive "scoop" from Axios about the more than $1 million in debt to vendors that it still owed by the Abrams campaign, according to two-time campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo, despite having raised more than $100 million in the cycle.

Groh-Wargo explained how donations to the campaign largely dried up in the final weeks and months -- which she blamed on a "cavalcade of negative press and negative polling" -- and how that forced her to scramble to try and make ends meet at the most crucial point of the election.

That included a sharp reduction in ad buys in the final weeks, suddenly cutting staffer paychecks right after the election, and even selling donor and voter data to third-party brokers in order to free up funds.

"We did not just lose, we got blown out," Groh-Wargo told Axios. "It was the most sub-optimal situation to be in. And we will be dealing with that situation for some time."

The outlet noted that these financial issues mirrored those of Abrams' 2018 campaign, which also nearly ran out of money during the primary, which Georgia Democratic strategist Chris Huttman said was a "well-documented pattern" and added of Abrams, "She was running a campaign where there’s always been more money in the future that can fix the mistakes of the past."

Wasteful spending outpaced donations

So if Abrams raised an astonishing $100+ million for the 2022 gubernatorial campaign but is now more than $1 million in debt, where did all of the money go? That is a question that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is attempting to answer, and what it has found thus far doesn't look particularly good.

That outlet tells a tale of mismanaged and "profligate" spending on things like a "hype house" rental for TikTok influencers that was never really used, a pop-up "swag truck" full of merchandise to be distributed that was never effectively deployed, internal polls that were ignored, and expensive consultants with "confusing or conflicting roles" and advice within the campaign, among other things.

Unfortunately for the campaign, particularly the lower-level staffers and volunteers, contributions did not keep pace with expenditures, and the campaign was forced to reduce benefits and cut pay for some staff and spend substantially less than was necessary on ads in the final weeks.

Abrams' nonprofit organizations being scrutinized

The scrutiny over how the campaign spent its fundraising haul is not the only problem that Abrams now faces following her second loss in a row to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), as The Washington Free Beacon reported that Abrams' nonprofit charity, the New Georgia Project, which she inherited from Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), is alleged to be illegally raising funds in nine states without a required license to do so.

That organization has reportedly missed certain crucial filing deadlines for financial disclosure reports with the IRS and several states, yet reportedly has still continued to collect donations and could soon face substantial fines and potentially even civil and criminal liability.

Meanwhile, Politico reported in October that another of Abrams' nonprofit organizations, Fair Fight Action, is being closely looked at for spending more than $25 million in two years on legal fees for a small "boutique" law firm -- which happens to be run by a close friend and ally of Abrams, Allegra Lawrence-Hardy -- ostensibly for its services as the lead firm in Abrams' unsuccessful voting rights lawsuits against the state.

Abrams was once considered a top rising star in the Democratic Party, but she has now lost two major elections in a row and has seemingly shown that she can't manage her campaign's cash or abide by the rules that govern nonprofit organizations, which should put a damper on any future political aspirations she may still retain.

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