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Ken Griffin Gave $5 Million to Haley’s Bid to Beat Trump

(Bloomberg) -- Citadel founder Ken Griffin said he gave $5 million to Nikki Haley’s presidential bid in January, yet stopped short of saying he would contribute more to her long-shot challenge to Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

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Griffin, a major political donor, made his contribution to the super political action committee backing Haley’s White House run, according to a statement from the billionaire.

In addition to his support for Haley, Griffin also gave $10 million to David McCormick, the former chief executive officer of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates who is running for US Senate in Pennsylvania. He also contributed $5 million to Tim Sheehy, who is running for US Senate in Montana.

“Governor Haley has a tremendous track record of leadership and America would be well served by someone with her foreign policy credentials and policy priorities in the White House,” Griffin said in a statement Tuesday. “While voters decide on who will serve as the Republican Party’s nominee for President, I will continue my focus on actively supporting U.S. House and Senate candidates prioritizing economic freedom and a strong defense of America at home and abroad.”

Earlier Tuesday, Griffin expressed doubt that Haley could beat Trump for the Republican nomination, after losing to the Republican frontrunner in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this month. Trump is leading Haley by about 30 percentage points in the Feb. 24 South Carolina primary, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

“It’s a narrower road than it was eight weeks ago,” Griffin said at a conference in Miami. “Her foreign policy experience, tremendous. Her ability to unite this country, phenomenal. I just don’t know though, that at this moment, that’s going to get her where she needs to get to in South Carolina.”

Griffin is one of the largest political donors in the country. His candidate choices are closely watched by other major donors who may decide to follow his lead in supporting the former United Nations Ambassador.

Wall Street Donors

Griffin joins other major Wall Street figures, including Stanley Druckenmiller, KKR & Co. co-Chairman Henry Kravis, The Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and AQR Capital Management’s Cliff Asness, who are supporting Haley. The former South Carolina governor is scheduled to be at a New York City fundraiser Tuesday and at events in Florida Wednesday. She will also raise money in California next week.

Other Haley donors — including investor Tim Draper and the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity network — have pledged to continue supporting her campaign, despite her slim chances of winning the nomination. Haley has said she will stay in the race through March 5, when more than a dozen states will hold primaries.

Since 2015, Griffin has donated $173 million to federal candidates and committees, according to OpenSecrets, but has stayed out of presidential politics since Trump emerged as the Republican Party’s nominee in May 2016. Griffin backed Florida US Senator Marco Rubio that year, putting $5 million into a super PAC that supported him.

Haley’s super political action committee said it raised $50.1 million in the last half of 2023, more than the super PAC supporting Trump. Her campaign said it raised $24 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

--With assistance from Bill Allison.

(Updates with more details starting in the fifth paragraph)

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