Trump’s impeachment has Georgia Republicans fearing a 2020 repeat

Georgia Republicans say they know the winning message for 2024: Under President Biden, voters are struggling with inflation, rising gas prices and undocumented immigrants streaming across the southern border.

But Republican front-runner Donald J. They fear Trump can’t stay on the news.

Mr. As the frenzy over Trump’s 2020 election, now fueled by two criminal prosecutions for stealing it, Mr. It threatens to reopen the wounds inflicted on the state’s GOP in the two-and-a-half years that prompted Biden’s narrow policy reversal. Success there. Mr. If Trump is the nominee, it’s unlikely he’ll take his anger out on the officials who overruled him to certify the 2020 election results, including the state’s popular governor.

“I don’t think he’s going to bring us together,” said Jack Kingston, a former House Republican from Georgia and a Trump ally. “It’s not in his nature to sit and say nice things, even about one of the most successful governors in the country, Brian Kemp.”

Like many Republicans, Mr. Election fraud in Kingston Georgia Mr. Trump’s false claims are believed to have cost the GOP two Senate seats in the January 2021 run-offs. Democrats rallied in the polls to secure victories for John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Republican voters heeded the former president’s warnings that the state’s election system was “rigged” and stayed home.

As the presidential election heats up, Mr. Trump’s false claims will now be put to trial in the state — and in Fulton, its most populous state. 41 count charge sheet against Mr. The most extensive of the four criminal cases Trump faces, it stretches from the Oval Office to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office to an election office in tiny Coffee County, where Trump’s associates successfully copied sensitive software.

Republicans in Georgia “always have divisions,” said Rusty Ball, the Republican mayor of Sandy Springs, which is north of the fast-growing Fulton County capital city of Atlanta. Voters in North Georgia and other rural areas are staunchly conservative. Voters in Atlanta’s populous suburbs are once reliably Republican, but more moderate. Still another breed are the down-country Republicans in Savannah.

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But in 2022 Mr. The toughest disconnect right now is the Georgia Republican Party’s pro-Trump leadership versus voters who have firmly rejected Trump’s primary candidates. And to beat the 2020 election, Mr. Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger refused to go along with Trump’s efforts. In the runoff election, a small but significant portion of Georgia Republicans supported Mr. either voted for Warnock or stayed home altogether, so that Mr. Helped the Democrat win a full six-year term against Trump’s handpicked U.S. Senate nominee, retired football star Herschel Walker.

Senior Republicans in the state hope that the eventual presidential nominee will win the support of hard-core Republicans. Mr. Kemp and Mr. They are more concerned about Republican voters who have supported both Warnock — and who are pushing back on the party leadership’s staunchly pro-Trump stance.

“The disconnect between Republican leadership and rank-and-file voters creates organizational problems,” Mr. Paul said, “How do you get voters to go away when they don’t agree with you?”

Georgia’s Republican Party base’s initial response to Monday’s indictment said Mr. Trump’s fourth will mirror the response of the national Republican Party: rallying around the candidate. But as time goes on, Mr. Paul predicted.

On Tuesday’s Truth Social, Mr. Trump addressed the rigged election claims. Kemp refused, to say Elections in Georgia are “secure, accessible and fair”.

“The future of our country is at stake in 2024 and it must be our focus,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Mr. Kemp promised. But he has distanced himself from the far-right factions of the party. At the state party conference held in June, he and Mr. Raffensberger, who once served as a conservative ally, was also absent. But, in the eyes of some state conservatives, the culture wars and disenfranchisement policies are now visible.

Georgia, with its 16 Electoral College votes and genial suburban Republican Party Never been terribly friendly Mr. To Trump’s hypocritical politics. In 2016 Mr. Trump’s 50.8 percent was up from Mitt Romney’s 53.3 percent in 2012 and George W. That’s down from Bush’s 58 percent. This trend continued in 2020. Mr Trump fell below 50 per cent, losing to Mr Biden by 11,779 votes.

Geoff Duncan, the Republican former lieutenant governor of Georgia and a staunch Trump critic; That emerged from grand jury testimony Monday And, “We Republicans are going to take our medicine and realize the election wasn’t rigged,” or we’ll lose again.

“Donald Trump is the worst candidate in the history of the party, worse than Herschel Walker, and now we have to highlight,” he said. “We want to win an election in 2024. It has to be who else but Donald Trump.”

That plea contrasted with the decision of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, a far-right Republican and Trump ally who represents northwest Georgia. “President Trump’s ‘investigation’ (witch hunt) of corrupt Fulton County DA Fanny Willis has dragged on for more than two and a half years, just in time to meddle in the 2024 presidential election,” he wrote in X. “It’s not a coincidence. . . it’s election interference.

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Against Georgia Republicans Mr. Mr. Trump said his ongoing crusade would help Democrats hold the government in 2024. Biden’s associates report.

“Donald Trump is the one candidate that Democrats can rally around and vote against,” said Fred Hicks, an Atlanta-based Democratic political strategist. “This is a real crisis moment for Republicans who care about the election.”

Joshua McCune, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, said he hopes the indictment will rally Republican voters in the state around what he sees as politically motivated targeting not just the former president, but several state figures, including a sitting state senator. Former President of the State Party. But the same development could have a chilling effect on efforts to recruit and organize state activists, he said.

“I think the purpose of this type of action is to encourage people to get involved,” said Mr. McCune said. “It’s like sending a message, ‘Be careful how active you are in the party or you could face criminal charges’.”

Mr. Trump, if he is the Republican nominee, will likely retain his conservative support well into next year. But for any GOP candidate to win in 2024, he or she will have to appeal to Georgia’s moderate and swing voters — something Mr. Hatred of Mr. Trump helped Biden win and Mr. In 2022, the same small group that selected Kemp and Mr. Warnock.

Cole Muzio, chairman of the Frontline Policy Council, a Georgia-based conservative group, said if he wins the Republican nomination in the state, Mr. “It can’t be 2020,” he added, to carry the GOP government into the next presidential election.

“Good grief, we can’t sue again in 2020 because if we do, we will lose the most important election of my life,” he said.

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