GOP Donors Face Dilemma as DeSantis Drops Out

The effort to pick anyone but Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee took another big, if expected, blow on Sunday when Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race and endorsed the former president. (Other former hopefuls, including Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott, have also endorsed Trump.)

The Republican faithful are coalescing around Trump in a way that raises questions about the next move by the wealthy donors who have sought to stop him.

Nikki Haley is now the only potential roadblock to a Trump nomination. DeSantis came into the race as the most daunting opponent to the former president, but his misstep-laden campaign never turned into a serious threat. Among his strategic errors was betting that “anti-woke” fights, including his battle against Disney, would resonate with voters. (Politico reports that a top DeSantis fund-raiser had proposed a legally untested way for the campaign to remain afloat, but the Florida governor eventually yielded to electoral reality.)

Haley has embraced her status as the last anti-Trump candidate standing: “May the best woman win,” she said on Sunday. But polls put her some 15 percentage points behind Trump in New Hampshire, as voters head to the polls tomorrow.

It’s a sign that the influence of big-money donors is limited. DeSantis’s war chest was financed largely by deep-pocketed benefactors. And in recent months, Haley has drawn support from a bipartisan group of anti-Trump moguls, including the hedge fund billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller and the Democratic investor and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. (JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon has publicly exhorted people of all political stripes to back Haley.)

But as The Times’s Ken Vogel notes, winning over the moneyed class hasn’t guaranteed electoral success for years. Just ask Jeb Bush.


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