LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky political experts weighed in on what Donald Trump's indictment means for the former president and for the Republican frontrunners in the highly contentious governor's race.
Kelly Craft and Attorney General Daniel Cameron both have close ties to Trump.
Dr. Dewey Clayton, a political science professor at UofL, predicts the news will not hurt either candidate. In fact, he says it might bolster support because of the stronghold the former president has in Kentucky.
Trump won by a nearly 30% margin in 2020 over President Joe Biden.
“This is clearly Trump country,” Clayton said. “This is something that actually, in the short term anyway, clearly benefit Former President Trump and many people that support him.”
Cameron received Trump's endorsement last summer and shared his message on Twitter.
In response to Trump's indictment, Cameron issued a statement saying, "Like many Kentuckians, I'm appalled by the political weaponization of our justice system against President Trump."
He goes on to say that the move "appeases the desires of the far-left."
Craft, the former Trump-appointed ambassador tweeted about the indictment days ago. In one tweet, she wrote, "Leftist will stop at nothing, including political prosecution, to stop President Donald Trump."
“Some people may look at this as being politically motivated,” Clayton said. “Like I said, I don't know if that's actually the case or not. But if people perceive it that way, and decide they want to want to open up their wallet, and two, it will motivate them.”
Clayton said the reason for the charges could further that belief because supporters may not feel the alleged 'hush money payment' warrants jail time.
Simmons College Chief of Staff J. Michael Brown spoke after the announcement on Tuesday on WHAS11 News at 5.
“What they're saying was the underlying payment and the entry of those records was to cover up another offense,” Brown said. “That other offense is not nearly as clear, at least from what I've been learning today.”
“A lot of people don't see that as rising to the level of really being like a major crime or felony and may not understand the actual intricacies.”
January polling from The Mason Dixon Polling Company show Governor Andy Beshear holds a significant lead over GOP contenders. Clayton said only time will tell if the dynamics shift because of Trump.
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