EXCLUSIVE – A new outside group launched on Monday to target Democratic activist and former gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, who is all but certain to challenge Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia next year in a rematch of their 2018 election showdown.
Leaders of the new independent committee, known as “Stop Stacey,” say they will build a “robust state and national fundraising operation” in order to target Abrams with opposition research, digital ads and other paid media.
A release from organizers, shared first with Fox News, describes the new group as “a national, grassroots organization of engaged conservatives who are committed to protecting our future from Stacey Abrams, her left-wing backers, and their radical, un-American agenda.”
Abrams is the former Georgia House Democratic leader who in 2018 made history as the first Black woman gubernatorial nominee of a major political party. She narrowly lost to Kemp by less than 55,000 votes out of nearly 4 million cast.
While acknowledging that she lost the election, Abrams never conceded to Kemp and argued that he used his post as Georgia’s secretary of state to make it harder for people in the state to vote. In the aftermath of her defeat she created the voting rights group Fair Fight, which has become a fundraising juggernaut the past two years and helped register tens of thousands of new voters in the 2020 election cycle.
Abrams’ efforts are credited with helping President Biden last November become the first Democrat in more than a quarter-century to carry the once-solidly red state of Georgia in a White House race. And her efforts were also considered crucial in helping Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock defeat Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in Georgia’s twin Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections, which gave the Democrats the majority in the chamber for the first time in six years.
With Abrams a sure bet to face off with Kemp in what could be one of the most competitive, expensive and fierce gubernatorial races in the country, which would draw tons of national attention, Republicans are gearing up to try and stop her. Among those launching the new committee are GOP operatives who are veterans of Kemp’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign and Loeffler’s unsuccessful 2020 campaign.
“After losing the White House and United States Senate in 2020, grassroots Republicans across Georgia and America are standing together to stop radical Stacey Abrams,” “Stop Stacey” senior strategist Jeremy Brand emphasized in a statement. “There is no time to waste: We must stand up, fight back, and Stop Stacey.”
Brand’s influential political consulting firm Parlay Marketing Partners supported Kemp’s 2018 gubernatorial victory.
Abrams, who was briefly considered last year by Biden as his running mate, has become a powerful figure in the Democratic Party. She was heavily courted but ultimately turned down offers to run for the Senate in the past cycle.
Biden, in Atlanta at a rally on the eve of the Georgia Senate runoff elections, stressed that “nobody in America has done more” for voting rights and the party.
“Stacey, you’re changing Georgia,” Biden said. “You’ve changed America.”
But the new group, looking ahead to the 2022 election and beyond, warned that “Abrams is pushing for a total, radical takeover in Georgia and throughout America.”
The group tells Fox News that its initial seed money for “Stop Stacey” stands in the six figures and says it is looking to compete with Abrams’ network, which has raised nearly $100 million to date.
While Abrams came out of the November elections and last month’s Senate runoffs on a high note, Kemp is facing a divided GOP. The governor, who was a strong supporter of former President Trump, was repeatedly attacked by the then-president in November and December for refusing Trump’s repeated demands to overturn Biden’s razor-thin victory in Georgia.
At the end of December, Trump called on Kemp to resign, tweeting that the governor was “an obstructionist who refuses to admit that we won Georgia.”
And Trump vowed at a rally on the eve of the Georgia Senate runoffs that “I’ll be here in about a year and a half campaigning against your governor. I guarantee that.”