Fair Fight, the liberal voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams, is laying off most of its staff and scaling back its efforts in response to mounting debts incurred by court battles.
Lauren Groh-Wargo, who led the organization before stepping down to manage Ms. Abrams’s second unsuccessful run for governor in Georgia in 2022, said she was returning as interim chief executive to lead the cuts, including laying off 20 employees — or 75 percent of the current staff.
She added that Fair Fight was $2.5 million in debt with only $1.9 million cash on hand. Fair Fight raised some $100 million from 2018 to 2021.
The cuts, in a decision made by the group’s board, would decimate a prominent liberal group that was once a fund-raising powerhouse for Democrats. The news was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Fair Fight has been involved in drawn-out legal battles over voting rights — for example, against a right-wing group, True the Vote, that sought in 2020 to remove some 250,000 registered voters in Georgia from voter rolls ahead of runoff elections for the state’s two Senate seats. A federal court ruled narrowly in favor of True the Vote this month.
Fair Fight lost another court battle against the state of Georgia in early 2023, having claimed that restrictions on voter registration and absentee ballots violated voting rights. The group was ordered to pay more than $231,000 to cover the state’s legal fees.
Ms. Abrams, at one point considered one of the nation’s most influential Democrats, founded Fair Fight after losing her first run for governor against Brian Kemp in 2018, but has not recently been involved with the group. Her efforts at building Democratic infrastructure in Georgia and driving voter turnout among the state’s people of color culminated in Democrats’ flipping both of Georgia’s Senate seats on Jan. 6, 2021.
Ms. Abrams then lost her rematch against Mr. Kemp in 2022, and liberal grass-roots organizers and activist groups in Georgia, including Fair Fight, warned late last year that national financial support for their efforts had dried up ahead of the 2024 election.