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Big GOP Donors Eschewing Trump, Hampering Fundraising Efforts

Big GOP Donors Eschewing Trump, Hampering Fundraising Efforts
Charles Koch (File photo)

By    |   Saturday, 21 May 2016 08:07 PM

Many large Republican Party donors — representing billions of dollars — are extremely wary of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, with many attacking the presumptive nominee's policies and some even dismissing him over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"If it is Trump vs. Clinton, I will be voting for Hillary," William Oberndorf, a California hedge fund manager, told The New York Times. He has backed Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush.

Michael Vlock, a Connecticut investor who has donated almost $5 million to Republicans in national races since 2014, called the developer a dangerous person.

"He’s an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard," he told the Times.

The obvious resistance, culled from interviews and email correspondence with 50 of the GOP's largest donors, or their representatives, could impede Trump's ability to raise $1 billion to defeat any Democrat in November, according to the Times.

In the 2012 race, both Romney and President Barack Obama raised more than $1 billion. The Clinton campaign has so far taken in more than $262.7 million.

More than a dozen top Republican contributors and wealthy families told the Times that they would not raise money for or contribute to Trump.

The group has donated as much as $90 million to conservative candidates and efforts in the last three national elections, primarily through super PACs supporting Republican candidates.

Besides Oberndorf, these include Paul Singer, the New York investor who has spent $28 million on national Republicans since the 2012 election; Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade, and his wife, Marlene, who have spent nearly $30 million in the same period; Seth Klarman, a Boston hedge fund manager; and Mike Fernandez, the Florida hospital executive.

Nine of those queried donors, however, are backing Trump. They include Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire CEO of the Las Vegas Sands casino group.

Adelson, head of the Republican Jewish Coalition, last week announced his support for Trump and has indicated that he was willing to spend as much as $100 million on his campaign.

Others include Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens; Foster Friess, a top mutual fund investor who lives in Wyoming; and Richard Roberts, a New Jersey pharmaceutical executive.

Friess told the Times that Trump needed to be credited for inspiring "truckers, farmers, welders, hospitality workers — the people who really make our country function."

Some have not completely closed the door to backing Trump, saying that he needed to revamp his candidacy and repudiate many of his earlier inflammatory remarks.

"Until we have a better reason to embrace and support the top of the ticket, and see an agenda that is truly an opportunity agenda, then we have lots of other options in which to invest and spend our time helping," Betsy DeVos told the Times.

A Michigan Republican, DeVos' family has given nearly $9.5 million to GOP causes and candidates over the past three elections.

Conservative billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, meanwhile, are not expected to back Trump, the Times reports.

The brothers are meeting with their vast network in Colorado in July, where they most likely will determine their spending for the race.

And other donors declined to reveal their plans or did not respond to requests for comment, which the Times described as "a remarkable silence about the de facto nominee of their party."

In response, Hope Hicks, a Trump spokeswoman, told the newspaper: "There is tremendous support for Mr. Trump."

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Many large Republican Party donors - representing billions of dollars - are extremely wary of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, with many attacking the presumptive nominee's policies and some even dismissing him over Democrat Hillary Clinton. If it is Trump vs....
GOP donors, Trump
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2016-07-21
Saturday, 21 May 2016 08:07 PM
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