Democrat Stacey Abrams frittered away funds on renting a house for TikTok creators and a “swag truck” to distribute campaign merchandise during her second unsuccessful run for governor in Georgia, according to a report. 

The lavish spending by the campaign, which raised more than $100 million, backfired — and by the end of Abrams’ failed attempt to defeat Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, staffers’ benefits were slashed and crucial TV airtime was cut, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.​

The revelations come in the wake of Abrams’ campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, telling Axios that the campaign owes vendors more than $1 million.

Now questions are being raised about how funds were spent by Abrams in her convincing loss to Kemp, a widely watched rematch of the 2018 gubernatorial contest.

​“It’s incredibly bad planning, and it shows where their values are at,” a senior Democratic official ​told the AJC.​ “You can’t look up one day and realize you can’t pay the bills.”

Stacey Abrams' campaign spent funds on a house for TikTok creators and a "swag truck" to hand out merchandise to young voters.
Stacey Abrams’ campaign spent funds on a house — which rents at $12,500 a month — for TikTok creators.
AP

According to the outlet, c​ampaign expenditures went to renting a home in Atlanta for use as a “hype house” for TikTok videos. 

But the five-bedroom home, which rents for $12,500 a month, was hardly used and was eventually converted by staffers into a makeshift office, the report said. 

Funds also were shelled out for a pop-up shop and “swag truck” to distribute Abrams T-shirts and hoodies in an attempt to win over young voters. 

Stacey Abrams with her campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo in November 2018.
Stacey Abrams with her campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo in November 2018.
AP

But campaign staffers groused that there was no larger strategy behind the costly giveaways. 

Money was also spent on polls that were ignored or pricey consultants whose advice appeared to be in conflict with the rest of the operation. 

As the race entered its final two weeks, the campaign found itself squeezed financially and began a series of belt-tightening measures. 

It hacked spending on TV ads by more than half to less than $1 million — even as Kemp spent almost $3 million on TV commercials in the last week of the race.

Stacey Abrams spent campaign funds on a "swag truck" to hand out merchandise to young voters.
Stacey Abrams spent campaign funds on a “swag truck” to hand out merchandise to young voters.
Twitter/Andrew Ferguson

In late October, the Abrams campaign also cut a program that allowed staffers to sign up for mental health sessions.

One staffer lamented the “brutal timing” of the decision for aides who planned to take advantage of the program once the election was over after working long hours for the Democratic candidate.​

“They probably thought they could keep raising money all the way through November,” a former staffer told the newspaper. “And they misplayed that badly.”

Groh-Wargo claimed at the time of the cuts that the campaign was shifting resources to digital outreach and canvassing efforts, but she has since confirmed the true reason was to reduce expenses.

Her excuse to Axios was that the campaign was hit with a “cavalcade of negative press and negative polling” in the final months that decimated fundraising. 

Groh-Wargo said the campaign is trying to make up the deficit by selling its extensive donor and voter databases.



Source link

Author

Comments are closed.