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A judge ruled Thursday that Stacey Abrams could not begin making use of unlimited campaign donations, because she isn’t yet technically the nominee for the Democratic party for the governorship of Georgia.
The law allows unlimited campaign donations through the use of leadership committees, but those can only be set up by official nominees of parties running in the election.
The campaign financing law was passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly last year. Critics say that the law gives Republican Gov. Brian Kemp a massive advantage because he can fundraise without limitations that still apply to Abrams’ campaign.
Abrams will become the official Democratic nominee on May 24 in an uncontested primary.
“This Court will not rewrite Georgia law to enable One Georgia to stand in the same shoes as a leadership committee that, in the Plaintiffs’ view, is operating in violation of the First Amendment,” wrote Judge Mark Cohen in the ruling.
Court watchers were not surprised by the ruling because Cohen had telegraphed his disapproval of Abrams’ legal maneuvering.
Lawyers for Abrams argued that she should be considered the nominee because her primary election was uncontested, but Cohen said that they should have sought an injunction against unlimited financing by Kemp instead of seeking the same financing for their campaign.
State party chair U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams tried to help Abrams’ case by submitting a sword affidavit that she was the party’s nominee.
Former Sen. David Perdue, who is challenging Kemp for the Republican nomination, also sued over the leadership committee law, arguing that it gave Kemp an unfair advantage in the primary election. The same judge agreed with Perdue and ruled in February that Kemp could not use the leadership committee funds in the primary election but could continue raising funds for the general election.
If Kemp wins the primary challenge, he will face Abrams in a rematch of the 2018 election in which he narrowly won.
Here’s more about the lawsuit from Abrams:
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