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Romance authors raise thousands to help Democrats in Georgia elections

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Romance authors have raised more than $400,000 in the past month to help support efforts by fellow author Stacey Abrams and others to elect Democrats in the pivotal Senate runoff races in Georgia.

According to The New York Times, the effort, dubbed “Romancing the Runoff,” was launched in November by romance authors Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole and Kit Rocha, which is the pen name of Donna Herren and Bree Bridges.

As part of the effort, the authors organized auctions that featured items such as a mentorship with writer Ann Aguirre and an autographed novel by Abrams, who has published numerous romance novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery over the years.

According to the Times, an autographed edition of “Rules of Engagement,” her first novel, fetched more than $3,000. More than 3,000 items were reportedly auctioned off through the effort. 

The funds went to supporting Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock ahead of the runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5. The winners of those races will determine which party controls the upper chamber in Congress.

Among the groups organizers said they’ll be donating proceeds to are Black Voters Matter, the New Georgia Project and Abrams’s Fair Fight Action group.

The news comes as Abrams has seen widespread praise in recent weeks for efforts to raise money for Democrats in Georgia in light of President-elect Joe Biden’s projected victory in the state last month. The win marked the first time since 1992 that the reliably red state went to a Democrat.

In comments to the Times this week, Milan said she and her fellow authors were inspired to launch their effort by Abrams’s work in the Peach State.

“A big part of it is because Stacey Abrams was so instrumental in establishing Fair Fight,” Milan said, pointing to how Abrams continued to work to mobilize voters in the state despite losing her bid for governor in a tight race in 2018. “Someone who sees that possibility for hope, and works to make it come to pass, is a quintessentially romance thing.” 

“You could just drown in pessimism, but she didn’t,” she added.

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