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Trump’s Trial Was a Huge Fundraising Gift to Struggling State Parties

The Georgia Republican Party reported that it took in nearly $100,000 the day before former President Donald Trump was convicted.

President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at Richard B. Russell Airport.
Former President Donald Trump received an uptick in donations around his verdict. So did some state Republican parties. Evan Vucci/AP

The trial of former President Donald Trump offered a tremendous financial boost to the languishing coffers of many state parties.

After receiving an average of $3,000 per day most of the year, daily contributions more than doubled in May for the state Republican parties in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona, according to recent FEC filings. The Georgia GOP reported receiving $99,502 on May 29 alone — the same day a jury began deliberations in Trump’s New York trial.

The funds are much needed for the state parties as they prepare to aid local candidates and Trump himself.

That’s particularly true in Georgia, which has spent over $1.7 million in legal fees defending party officers in Fulton County’s election interference case. The Georgia state party is Trump’s proxy campaign apparatus. Without a staffing footprint, he’s relying on Chair Josh McKoon and county chairs to ensure his message is heard, aided by recent visits for rallies and fundraisers.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has bolstered his in-state infrastructure with staffing hires and the planned opening of seven campaign offices. It was a stop on Vice President Kamala Harris’ economic messaging tour, and Biden gave the commencement address at Morehouse College. Biden and Trump will meet in Atlanta this week for the first presidential debate.

Whereas the Georgia GOP is focused on boosting Trump, other state parties need cash for major down-ballot races. Wisconsin Republican Reps. Bryan Steil and Derrick Van Orden face stiff Democratic challengers, with both seats vital for Republicans to defend their slim House majority, and GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde faces an uphill battle to defeat Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin. Republicans are defending multiple House seats in Pennsylvania while trying to gain seats and the governor’s mansion in North Carolina.

Though the trial was a welcome buoy for fundraising, it’s unknown how the verdict impacted more recent contributions. June party financial disclosures won’t be filed until late July.

After Trump became a convicted felon, campaign experts and political pundits predicted a financial windfall for Trump’s campaign. Their words proved prescient. Within hours, $35 million poured in from small-dollar donors, according to the campaign. The total eclipsed $50 million in the following days.

But with small-dollar donations shrinking overall for both parties, it’s not clear how far the financial momentum will carry.

Local parties immediately jumped into the fray after the verdict. In Georgia, county GOP chapters held weekend rallies to show support for Trump in early June. It did not appear to lead to more fundraising, according to a local official.

“Most had given online to Trump already,” said Sammy Baker, the Gwinnett County GOP chair.

In May, Trump’s campaign and the RNC outraised their Democratic counterparts by almost $60 million, giving him a cash edge on Biden.

With the dollars rolling in, Trump continues to fundraise off his criminal status. A recent email ad carried the tagline, “Would you still love me if I’m arrested?”

Ben T.N. Mause is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.