Early presidential primaries could add $1.12B to Georgia’s economy

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 7:45 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - An early presidential primary could add $1.12 billion to Georgia’s economy, according to a new economic impact report.

With Georgia being a battleground state, Columbus now has an opportunity to reap economic benefits.

The Democratic National Committee voted to approve a new early presidential primary calendar that includes Georgia and a few other states to better reflect the country’s demographic makeup

The 26-page report estimating Columbus could see more than 50 million dollars in total economic impact including 14 million dollars in direct campaign spending.

The CEO of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce says the figures are very intriguing.

In this report, Emory University’s Business School Professor Tom Smith, says an earlier presidential primary in 2024 could generate more than $14 million in Columbus in campaign spending alone. Smith says Columbus would benefit in multiple ways.

“The first is by having an early primary - you’re going to attract a lot more candidates to come to your state and start holding events. When candidates come and set up offices, they’re going to be renting space, buying supplies, buying food, transportation, and a lot of that spending comes from local vendors.”

In 2020, the Georgia Democratic and Republican presidential primaries took place on June 9. Two months after Joe Biden took a commanding lead in delegates and with Donald Trump running without a serious challenger, it essentially rendered the Georgia primary inconsequential... and because of that campaigns of either party invested little to no time or money in the state during the primary season.

Local vendors like Will Burgin, who is a real estate developer, says the possibility of having a early primary in Georgia would give businesses like his various opportunities.

“We have an opportunity to not only bring all of the candidates to town to let them hear our needs and let us hear what they have to say but we also have a high chance of them setting up campaign offices... When that happens, not only do they lease buildings but they buy printed materials - they go out to lunch, they need office supplies, dry cleaning and all the rest and so it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to not only see politics up close and personal have them hear from us but it’s also a wonderful way for the their interest to become income opportunities for our town.”

In addition to direct and indirect spending, the Columbus area could benefit from more than $473,000 in additional tax revenue. THE CEO of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce Jerald Mitchell says with these figures being researched by one person, it’s something that may need more eyes.

“It’d be really interesting to see if the work of others aligns with these with these figures... Again you know completely speaking or looking at it from an economic standpoint - you know those are dollars that can make a difference for some of our local businesses.”

Republican State Chair of the over 80 thousand caucus members, Alton Russell, says this is something republicans DO NOT want to happen.

“They have not even thought about it talked about it, discussed it - so for anybody to suggest that we move it in Georgia is probably just really not a genuine issue.”

News Leader 9 reached out to the local Democratic party for a comment and was unable to reach anyone for comment.

If approved by the National Party, Georgia presidential primaries will take place on February 13th.