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The donor who supported DeSantis’ re-election is ‘still on the sidelines’ in 2024

Kenneth Griffin, a billionaire hedge fund executive and top Republican donor who has made clear he wants the party to move away from former President Donald J. Trump, has yet to find an alternative during the primary – even if time is running out. for Mr Trump’s opponents to narrow his huge lead before voting begins in January.

Mr. Griffin’s continued absence from the primary, which he confirmed in a CNBC interview expected to air Monday night, speaks to deep discontent among some anti-Trump Republican megadonors over their choices in the race.

This is also a particular snub to Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida. When Mr. DeSantis was re-elected governor last year, Mr. Griffin supported him to the tune of $5 million, but he expressed dissatisfaction with his presidential campaign.

“I don’t know his strategy,” he told CNBC, a significant departure from his assertion last year that the country would be “well served” if Mr. DeSantis were president. “I don’t clearly see what electoral base he intends to appeal to.”

Zia Ahmed, a spokeswoman for Mr. Griffin’s company, Citadel, confirmed the comments, but stressed to the New York Times that Mr. Griffin “has never said who he would or would not support in 2024.”

“I’m still on the sidelines,” Mr. Griffin said in the CNBC interview. He added: “Look, if I had my dream, we would have a great Republican candidate in the primary, who would be younger, from a different generation, with a different tone for America. »

That description might once have seemed to refer to Mr. DeSantis, who is 45 and has tried to present himself as someone who could revamp the Republican message and win back influential voters turned off by Mr. Trump.

But Mr. DeSantis has leaned heavily into the cultural grievances that animate the Republican base, denouncing transgender rights and the teaching of race in schools, among other things, while echoing or trying to intensify a much of Mr. Trump’s rhetoric on issues like immigration. .

Polls show him far behind Mr. Trump, sometimes by several dozen percentage points.

People close to Mr. Griffin described him as particularly upset by Mr. DeSantis’s characterization of the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial conflict” and by his six-week abortion ban. signed in Florida.

Mr. Griffin has spent more than $100 million during the 2022 midterm cycle, and his largesse could make a big difference to a Trump opponent — if, or when, he chooses one.


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