ICYMI: Atlanta Journal-Constitution: An earlier presidential primary could juice Georgia’s economy

February 14, 2023

New Report Estimates $220 Million in Economic Impact

A new report released today found that Georgia stands to reap major economic benefits from an earlier presidential primary. According to the report from Emory University finance professor Thomas More Smith, moving Georgia up to fourth in the presidential primary schedule in 2024 could generate $220 million and 2,200 new jobs in campaign spending alone. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, the massive benefits of an early primary have Democrats, Republicans, small business owners, and economists alike rallying behind the new proposed schedule.

Read more about how an early presidential primary would be a boon for Georgia’s economy:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: How an earlier presidential primary could juice Georgia’s economy

Greg Bluestein, 2/14/23

Key Points

  • An earlier presidential primary date won’t just bring a wave of political advertising and more attention to Georgia. It could also bring a surge of spending that generates thousands of new jobs and a nine-figure economic impact.
  • Moving Georgia up in the schedule could generate an economic impact of roughly $220 million in spending from campaigns, national parties and outside groups in the months leading up to the race, according to the analysis. It would also contribute to 2,200 new jobs.
  • The spending would soar higher in future elections that feature competitive primaries on both sides of the party line. Under Smith’s analysis, a wide-open 2028 contest could boast an economic impact as high as $375 million while adding more than 4,000 jobs.
  • [S]ome GOP figures have lined up behind the switch. Cory Ruth, a Republican consultant, said he sees no downside for the scheduling overhaul.
  • “I recognize the impact that South Carolina’s earlier spot has had,” Ruth said of that state’s first-in-the-South tradition. “It’s not a coincidence that many politicians in that state enjoy national prominence. This is an ideal time for us to assert our political identity.”
  • Smith’s analysis doesn’t project the impact of spending by media outlets covering the races, nor does it account for the economic impact generated by the coverage. It also doesn’t factor how Georgia’s earlier spot could attract additional federal spending down the line.
  • Instead, it distilled Federal Elections Commission data to focus on expenditures from the campaigns, the political parties and outside organizations such as super PACs in past primary cycles.
  • That spending adds up fast, said Markee Tate, president of Advancing Black Businesses, the public policy arm of the Atlanta Black Chambers.
  • “It would be a major economic impact for the state, particularly for Black business owners,” he said. “Restaurant owners, caterers, marketing firms, street vendors, hoteliers – there are so many businesses that could get the downstream effects of an earlier primary.”

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