Romance Novelists Raise Nearly $400,000 for Dems in Georgia Runoff

A group of romance novelists have raised nearly $400,000 for the two Democratic Senate candidates, Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, headed to Georgia's January runoffs.

Romance authors Alyssa Cole, Courtney Milan and Kit Rocha (the pseudonym of writing duo Donna Herren and Bree Bridges) organized Romancing the Runoff, an auction raising funds for three voter organization in Georgia: former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight, the New Georgia Project, and Black Voters Matter.

"Democracy only thrives when every vote can be cast and counted, and we are fighting to help dismantle the legacy of voter suppression in Georgia," the group's mission statement reads.

The four authors said they were inspired by fellow romance author Abrams' advocacy work and wanted to help the Peach State elect the two Democratic senators, a victory which would grant the Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.

Between 2001 and 2009, Abrams wrote eight romantic suspense novels under her pen name Selena Montgomery. Back in 2018, she told The Washington Post: "Romance is one of the oldest forms of storytelling, and I'm honored to be in the company of extraordinary writers."

Abrams was also largely credited with flipping Georgia blue in the last presidential election. The last time the state voted for a Democratic presidential candidate was in 1992 when Georgia elected Bill Clinton.

Runoff elections
Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are seen at a campaign event on November 19, 2020 in Jonesboro, Georgia. A group of romance novelists have raised nearly $400,000 for Warnock and Ossoff in their upcoming runoff races. Elijah Nouvelage/Stringer

According to the auction's website, Romancing the Runoff was organized in 12 hours and raised $95,000 before the auction launched.

In less than 10 minutes, the group reached their auction goal of $25,000. After expanding their fundraising goal to $50,000, it only took Romancing the Runoff an hour to hit their new target.

By the time the auction was live for 12 hours, the group raised $100,000 towards the Democratic efforts in Georgia.

The auction, which includes items such as signed novels, TV pilot consultations and author-hosted events, has raised over $398,000.

The group's call for auction items was so well-received that the group had to cut off donations within the first 24 hours. Romancing the Runoff largely attributes the outpour of support to the tight-knit, romance community.

"Romance has been a deeply political genre, and a deeply political community. We believe in inclusion, progress, community, and—most of all—happy endings," Romancing the Runoff told Newsweek.

The group said their experience writing in the romance genre is critical to their understanding of what democracy is, an idea they believe Abrams embodies when advocating for the right to vote.

"Stacey Abrams is one of our own," the authors said in an email. "We mean that in multiple senses of the word. She is Selena [Montgomery], a celebrated author in her own right. But also, she exemplifies everything that our genre is about. Romance is not—as some people believe—a genre in which good things happen easily. It's a genre about fighting for what you believe in."