In Arizona, the state GOP chairman has been begging the Republican National Committee for a financial bailout. Michigan party officials have gotten into physical fights as their finances have dipped into the red. And in Georgia, the state party is in a standoff with the Republican governor and saddled with legal fees for alternate electors put forward in 2020.
In each of these 2024 battlegrounds, election denial and grass-roots fervor for former president Donald Trump have rocked the Republican apparatus. Now, the state parties are plagued by infighting, struggling to raise money and sometimes to cover legal costs stemming from Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 defeat — threatening to hamper GOP organizing capabilities in next year’s presidential election.
“There has been an emphasis on ideological cleansing instead of electioneering,” said John Watson, the Georgia GOP chairman from 2017 to 2019. “If those new entrants to the party want to argue the earth is flat and the election is stolen, those are counterproductive to winning elections.”
State parties are typically critical in election years for mobilizing volunteers and running get-out-the-vote efforts, and they can collect larger checks or buy cheaper airtime than other groups. Those functions are now in doubt as the fissures fuel finger-pointing and competition for donor dollars. Even as more experienced leaders have taken the reins in some cases, they are struggling to undo some of the damage from MAGA-aligned predecessors and deal with continued pressure from the movement. [Continue reading…]