Despite mounting legal troubles, former President Trump remains a strong contender for the GOP nomination.
Late on Monday, Trump faced his fourth indictment. This time, it was from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, relating to Trump’s purported attempts to contest the 2020 Georgia election results. This came after three prior indictments against Trump over the course of several months, with two at the federal level.
Though there are Republican insiders who express concerns over Trump’s legal situation, many believe it won’t significantly impact his position in the nomination race.
According to GOP strategist from Arizona and a former member of the Trump campaign, Brian Seitchik, neither the number nor the nature of the indictments seem to have influenced Trump’s popularity in the polls. Seitchik mentioned that a significant setback, such as a defeat in early primaries like Iowa or New Hampshire, could quickly shift national sentiment.
The charges against Trump in this year included: an alleged payment to keep an actress quiet; an accusation of mishandling classified documents; and issues related to the aftermath of the 2020 election, notably the Capitol incident on January 6, 2021.
Willis’s recent indictment stems from a 2021 investigation into a phone call where Trump reportedly urged Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to challenge his electoral loss to Biden. Trump, responding to this new indictment, voiced his frustrations on his Truth Social platform.
A poll from The New York Times/Siena College last month revealed that just 17% of probable GOP primary voters felt Trump had committed serious crimes, while a strong majority, 71%, believed otherwise.
Republican strategist and ex-Michigan GOP chairman, Saul Anuzis, voiced the sentiment that this latest indictment probably wouldn’t have much influence on GOP primary voters. He feels that most have already made up their minds about Trump. Anuzis also emphasized the general Republican perspective that these indictments seem politically motivated.
However, recent polls indicate potential weakening of support for Trump within the Republican ranks. Data from an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll showed a 9% drop in Republicans who felt Trump did no wrong between June and July.
Some GOP voters, like Terri O’Brien and Joe Budd, voice concerns about the ongoing controversies surrounding Trump, questioning his electability. Conversely, others, like Keith Naughton, a GOP strategist, believe it’s too early to determine the potential long-term impacts of these legal issues on Trump’s candidacy.
Yet, certain Republican voters, like Kelly Millard of Ankeny, Iowa, are dismissing the ongoing drama as mere distractions, indicating that their opinions remain unchanged.