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2024 GOP mega-donors eyeing Tim Scott as DeSantis loses steam, report says

Sen. Tim Scott announces a police reform bill in Washington, DC on June 17, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM/TNS)
July 13, 2023

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to trail former President Donald Trump in Republican primary polls, Republican donors looking for a candidate to beat the former president are now considering financially supporting South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

Following recent polls that show Trump continuing to hold a major lead over the Florida governor, wealthy Republican donors such as Billionaire businessman Ronald Lauder, are meeting with the South Carolina senator as they consider backing Scott over DeSantis, according to Politico.

Politico reported that during a recent June meeting near Charleston, Lauder and Scott met regarding the senator’s 2024 presidential campaign. Lauder is expected to meet again with Scott to determine whether or not he will financially support the South Carolina senator instead of DeSantis.

Lauder’s decision to consider other Republican primary candidates is reportedly due to the current state of DeSantis’s campaign. While Lauder donated $200,000 toward DeSantis for his gubernatorial race in 2018 and $10,000 toward a DeSantis super PAC last year, he now appears to be considering other options.

READ MORE: Poll shows Trump has 20-point lead over DeSantis among Florida Republicans

“The major donors are still open and are still looking,” a Republican associated with New York’s wealthy contributors, said. “They originally were with DeSantis. They’re looking for other options and Tim Scott right now is probably their top target.”

Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the national co-chair of Scott’s campaign has indicated that Republican donors like Scott but are still waiting to learn more about the senator.

According to Politico, Scott has been working hard to prove that his campaign is not an attempt to become a potential candidate for vice president. As a result, the senator has spent millions of dollars in Iowa and New Hampshire to increase his name recognition among potential Republican primary voters.

“They’re trying to figure out if he’s for real,” Haslam said regarding potential Scott donors. “‘Is he in this thing to win it, and can he do that?’ There’s a lot of donors — and voters — out there who are ready for somebody to be president who’s never been president before.”

While some major Republican donors are reportedly considering financially backing Scott’s campaign instead of DeSantis’s campaign, the Florida governor has received significant financial support since announcing his bid for the White House.

“Our campaign is grateful for the tens of thousands of grassroots supporters — and major donors — who have made it possible for us to build an unmatched organization in the early nominating states with the ability to compete for the long haul,” Andrew Romeo, campaign spokesperson for DeSantis said.

While Romeo did not deny the rumors of Republican donors potentially switching allegiances to Scott, he noted, “You could wallpaper the governor’s residence with the amount of premature political obituaries written about Ron DeSantis.”

Romeo explained that “challenging the establishment is never easy” and that the 2024 presidential race will be a “long, hard-fought battle to defeat Joe Biden.” He added that the Florida governor’s campaign is developing an organization that “will go the distance,” as DeSantis remains confident he will “earn the nomination” from the Republican Party.