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Donald Trump Finds Himself Financially Outgunned Before Primary Battle

Newsweek 2/6/2023 Ewan Palmer
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's Annual Meeting on January 28, 2023 in Salem, New Hampshire. © Scott Eisen/Getty Images Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's Annual Meeting on January 28, 2023 in Salem, New Hampshire.

Donald Trump's ability to raise tens of millions of dollars for his political campaigns may prove insignificant after a powerful network of donors led by billionaire conservative Charles Koch said it will not be backing the former president in 2024.

In a memo made public on Sunday, Emily Seidel, chief executive officer of the Americans for Prosperity (AFP), said that the group must be prepared to help the country "write a new chapter" regarding whom the GOP will put forward for the next presidential election.

While not mentioning Trump by name, the memo notes how the Republican Party has been recently "nominating bad candidates" who are "advocating for things that go against core American principles." The reference apparently was to the scores of election-denying and MAGA candidates endorsed by Trump who lost their midterm races across the country this past November.


"To write a new chapter for our country, we need to turn the page on the past. So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter," Seidel wrote. "The American people have shown that they're ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that."

AFP's affiliated super PAC spent more than $69 million in the 2022 cycle, according to The Washington Post, citing Federal Election Commission disclosures.

While Trump's reputation in the wake of the GOP's poor midterms performance did take a hit, on top of the numerous criminal investigations into the former president, he has always relied on huge donations to indicate his massive support and to boost his campaigns.

The Guardian reported in January that Trump had accumulated a war chest amounting to roughly $95 million. However, analysis suggests that a large amount of this money raised via his PACs and committees—$78 million—cannot be used by Trump for his 2024 campaign.

Campaign finance rules prohibit Trump from using money donated to his Save America PAC and his other committees for a White House run, meaning all his presidential donations must now be given directed to his 2024 campaign.

As well as Koch and the AFP, other high-profile donors have said they will not be backing Trump in 2024, including the influential conservative Club for Growth.

GOP megadonors Robert Mercer and daughter Rebekah, who backed Trump in 2016, are said to be looking more toward Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to lead the party in the next election following the midterm results, CNBC reported.

Hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, who gave $1 million to the pro-Trump Future45 PAC in 2018, told Bloomberg's New Economy Forum this past September that he doesn't want a "three-time loser" as the next GOP presidential candidate. He also voiced support for DeSantis.

It is still unclear whom the AFP may choose to donate to and how much.

Trump is still the only Republican to confirm a 2024 candidacy, although DeSantis has long thought to be a readymade challenger to the former president should the controversial governor decide to run.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is expected to announce in the coming days that she will be running for president, although hypothetical primary polling suggests she has little support from Republican voters.

Newsweek has contacted Trump for comment.

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