Could legal challenges boost Perry, Christie, Walker in 2016?

“Republican primary voters are actually energized when Democrats attempt to criminalize politics,” GOP operative Jim Dyke told RCP.

Allies of Christie and Walker have also tried to turn the alleged transgressions on their head by suggesting the high-profile governors are the victims of Democrats’ plots to undermine their presidential chances.

It’s a strategy that may pay dividends in a 2016 primary fight, as all three would be courting conservative voters who will likely see the investigations as badges of honor.

Bob Haus, who helmed Perry’s 2012 campaign in Iowa and is poised to reprise that role in 2016, said the “overwhelming response” from activists in the nation’s first voting state has been strongly supportive.

“They see the actions against Governor Perry for what they are: raw politics,” Haus said. “I would also say that Governor Perry has shown great strength and resolve in this matter. He and his team have managed this issue exceptionally well, and have shown they will fight this aggressively.”