ATLANTA — Stacey Abrams spent years telling donors that Democrats could win in Georgia if they would provide the money to build a statewide political operation. In 2020, Georgia finally delivered its 16 presidential electoral votes to a Democrat, Joe Biden, and sent two Democrats to the US Senate.
Other Southern states are now trying to follow, and Georgia is eager to help.
The Georgia Democratic Party is combining forces with other state parties in the region for joint fundraising appeals, aiming to help those states make earlier-than-usual investments in voter registration and field organizing going into the 2022 midterms. Abrams’ Fair Fight organization, which has raised more than $100 million since its inception after her 2018 loss in the Georgia governor’s race, is readying for another round of spending as well.
It’s the latest example of Abrams’ ripple effect on Democratic politics as she considers whether to run for Georgia governor again in 2022. Democrats pitch the investment in state parties — a relatively modest step, given the billions in political spending each cycle — as an important part of the larger effort to export Georgia’s successes across Southern Sun Belt states that Republicans have dominated for decades.
That’s true from burgeoning battlegrounds such as Texas, where Democrats have reduced their deficits in recent statewide losses, to deeply Republican strongholds like Alabama, where swaths of Black voters and young, urban voters could at least dent Republican majorities in the Legislature.
“If there’s a way to partner with our friends in the South, then it’s a great opportunity for everybody,” said Scott Hogan, executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party.
But party officials in the South agree that any future victories require a deliberate, long-term approach, and there’s plenty of realism in a region where national Democrats once-ballyhooed “50-state strategy” in the mid-2000s yielded few lasting shifts.
“If Georgia had a 10-year rebuild,” said the Alabama Democrats’ executive director, Wade Perry, “then we’re in about year three.”
Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said the decade of work by Abrams and others in Georgia provides the blueprint.
“Every state is different,” Hinojosa said. “It’s not so much that Georgia is a step-by-step model, but they showed the impact that you can have with a significant campaign funded over a period of time.”
Perry’s and Hinojosa’s state parties recently sent joint fundraising pitches with Georgia Democrats, email solicitations to the parties’ existing donor lists, splitting the proceeds. Separately, Georgia has joined several state parties — in Arizona, North Carolina and Virginia — in an ongoing joint fundraising agreement with multiple digital efforts partnering some or all of the states in the agreement.
For Texas and Alabama, specifically, it’s part of building party infrastructure early an election cycle. Both states, along with Georgia, are eying elections next year for governor, other statewide offices, the state legislature and the US House. Georgia and Alabama also each has a US Senate contest.
After a disappointing November, when President Donald Trump won Texas by more than 630,000 votes and Democrats failed to dent the GOP’s legislative majorities, Hinojosa’s organization launched a $12.5 million voter registration campaign targeting rural Hispanics and young urban liberals.