A GOP megadonor who previously backed the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has said that he will not fund DeSantis’ presidential campaign, according to a report by CNBC.
Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of Citadel LLC with a personal net worth of $35.4 billion, has a long history of donating to Republican candidates, having donated over $71 million to federal candidates during the 2022 midterm elections alone. Griffin has said that he is not planning to support DeSantis’ presidential campaign, despite having spent $5 million to support his gubernatorial re-election bid in 2022, according to a report by CNBC on Monday. (RELATED: Huge DeSantis Donor Says He May Pull The Plug On Supporting Campaign)
“I’m still on the sidelines as to who to support in this election cycle,” Griffin said, according to an excerpt of his interview with CNBC. “Look, if I had my dream, we’d have a great Republican candidate in the primary who was younger, of a different generation, with a different tone for America. And we’d have a younger person on the Democratic side in the primary, who would have his message for our country.”
I dress like he campaigns https://t.co/IXgGmIRNb4
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) September 18, 2023
Griffin’s comments are markedly different from his praise for DeSantis in November of 2022, shortly after DeSantis was re-elected governor of Florida by a 19.4% margin. “He has a tremendous record as governor of Florida, and our country would be well-served by him as president,” Griffin had said, according to Politico.
“Would I support him? The bigger question is, is he going to run? That bridge has to be crossed,” said Griffin of DeSantis at the time. DeSantis launched his campaign for the presidency in May, though Griffin has neither supported him nor donated to his campaign.
“I don’t know his strategy. It’s not clear to me what voter base he is intending to appeal to,” Griffin said of DeSantis’ campaign, NBC reported.
Citadel LLC, which Griffin founded, is considered the most successful hedge fund of all time, according to Forbes.
Griffin’s complaints about DeSantis mirror others voiced by top donors about his campaign, which have included lamentations about his inability to gain support in polls vis-a-vis former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump currently has an average of 56.6% support across all polls, according to RealClearPolitics, with DeSantis, at second-placing, having 12.7% support.
Donors have also criticized DeSantis for his emphasis on social issues during the campaign, which they have called too extreme. In August, multimillionaire Robert Bigelow — the largest individual donor to DeSantis’ political effort — said that he would stop funding his candidacy unless his campaign changed their political strategy.
“He does need to shift to get to moderates. He’ll lose if he doesn’t. … Extremism isn’t going to get you elected,” Bigelow said at the time.
Andy Sabin, another large donor to the campaign, announced in May that he would cease supporting DeSantis due to his position on abortion. “I don’t think he can win a national election with his viewpoint on abortion,” Sabin told Reuters.
DeSantis’ campaign has since laid off several staff and replaced his campaign manager. The campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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