Political challengers rarely get a jump on incumbent, who start most races with the competitive advantage of name recognition, fundraising and ready-made campaign infrastructures.
Most challengers aren’t Stacey Abrams. She’s pretty much washed everyone in Georgia–if not the country–at raising money and building a powerful voter registration org since narrowly losing the Georgia governor’s race in 2018. There might not be another non-elected official with better name recognition, unless they score touchdowns or spit lyrics. All of that is allowing Abrams to jump out of the gate in her bid to unseat Gov. Brian Kemp, and she’s hitting the ground running.
From the AJC
Abrams said she’s now in phase one of her rematch attempt against Gov. Brian Kemp, a stage that’s as much about building a fundraising edge as it is amassing volunteers.
“We’re going to take the winter to put that together, and in the spring we’re going to do our massive launch when we call on folks to knock on doors and make phone calls – to do the hard work of campaigning. But we want to do it right.”
Contrast Abrams’ plans for a spring start to the task ahead of Kemp, who is daily fending off a primary challenge from former Sen. David Perdue.
That last part is where Abrams may have a real advantage. Incumbents don’t usually face primary challenges from their own party, which gives them a head start raising money while rivals from the opposition battle it out before a general election. Georgia’s governor’s race this year could be the opposite: Abrams might yet get a challenger for the Democratic nomination but at this point she’s the clear front-runner.
Meanwhile Kemp is finding out what it’s like being a Republican who didn’t sufficiently bow down to Donald Trump and his Big Lie about the 2020 election. Perdue, who lost his U.S. Senate seat to Jon Ossoff in 2020 with Abrams’ help, needs a new gig and now has Trump’s support in his run against Kemp.
Worth noting: in May of 2020, Trump was insulting Abrams’ weight on Twitter; by September, he was tired of Kemp not helping him steal an election and said Abrams could be a better governor.
Even in Georgia, it’s cold in these GOP streets.