A former lobbyist for Stacey Abrams’ nonprofit elections organization Fair Fight Action was named chairwoman of the elections board of Georgia’s largest county Wednesday.
Cathy Woolard, a former Atlanta City Council President and mayoral candidate, was elected chairwoman of the Fulton County elections board by the county’s Board of Commissioners in a 4-2 vote, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported. Her nomination was panned by Republicans, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who are concerned by her connections to Abrams.
Woolard began lobbying for Fair Fight Action in February 2021, receiving more than $10,000 to do so. She terminated her contract with the group on Sept. 13 and is marked inactive as a lobbyist by Georgia’s government transparency commission. She also registered to lobby for multiple gun control groups and Planned Parenthood affiliates. Woolard did not spend any money lobbying for Fair Fight, according to her filings with the state of Georgia. Her contract with Fair Fight expired shortly before she was confirmed to the elections board, a spokesman for the organization said, according to AJC.
“All she really did was introduce some folks from here to there,” commissioner Lee Morris, who voted for Woolard’s nomination, told the AJC of her lobbying efforts.
Fair Fight was reorganized by Abrams in December 2018, following her gubernatorial election loss to Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams refused to concede the loss on multiple occasions, claiming without evidence that Republican politicians suppressed the vote in predominantly Democratic and black counties. As a 501(c)4, Fair Fight can only advocate on political issues, but the group has been accused of promoting Abrams’ own political ambitions. (RELATED: Stacey Abrams Ad Places Asterisk Next To Georgia Governor’s Name)
Concern about Woolard’s nomination was bipartisan, with Democratic commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman voting against her.
“She could walk on water and cure cancer and give sight back to the blind, but if we don’t take our time with this and do it right, we’re going to be in the news again and (risk) a state takeover,” Abdur-Rahman said.
Georgia’s elections law, SB 202, which was passed in April, allows the state elections board to remove county election commissioners and appoint a temporary superintendent.
Raffensperger threatened to do exactly that.
Fulton County needs to think again before appointing someone who is bought and paid for by Stacey Abrams to run elections in Fulton County. https://t.co/XvlNrWviTe
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) September 15, 2021
“Fulton County needs to think again before appointing someone who is bought and paid for by Stacey Abrams to run elections in Fulton County,” he said in a statement. “Appointing such a blatantly partisan and conflicted individual, who is literally on Stacey Abrams’s payroll, will do incredible damage to the already terrible reputation Fulton has for running elections. If the Fulton County Commissioners go through with this partisan and irresponsible selection, I will seek the removal of Fulton’s entire election board through SB202, Georgia’s new election law.”