(Bloomberg) -- Presidential candidates are flocking to sun-drenched Florida this winter — and it’s not just for the warm weather.
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Florida has increasingly become an important hub for campaign fundraising, with billionaires like Citadel’s Ken Griffin relocating there in recent years and the state’s booming financial center — cheekily dubbed Wall Street South — drawing candidates eager to tap wealthy donors.
President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Nikki Haley will both attend fundraisers in the state next week, and former President Donald Trump — the GOP frontrunner — is hosting events at his Mar-a-Lago residence there next month.
Biden will attend two fundraisers on Tuesday, one in Miami whose hosts include hedge fund billionaire Henry Laufer, Biden Victory Fund national finance chair Chris Korge of the law firm Korge & Korge, and Alex Heckler of LSN Partners LLC, according to an invitation obtained by Bloomberg News.
Another fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida, will be hosted by Sean Domnick of Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa and Kelly Domnick, with lawyers from across the state as co-hosts such as Michael Haggard and Wayne Hogan.
The state’s residents have poured $23.3 million into the coffers of presidential campaigns through the third quarter of 2023, according to the Federal Election Commission, second only to California. In 2020, Florida was the fifth biggest source of campaign cash.
Haley, the last major Republican candidate standing between Trump and the party’s nomination, is set to attend fundraising events in the state on Wednesday, including a roundtable in Miami hosted by Starwood Capital Group’s Barry Sternlicht alongside a group of supporters including hedge fund veteran Dan Och.
For Haley, her fundraising efforts are crucial if she hopes to press on with her longshot bid against Trump after defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire. Polls showing Haley significantly trailing the former president in her home state of South Carolina, which holds its Republican primary next month.
Trump threatened her supporters in a post to his Truth Social network Wednesday night, saying he would “permanently bar” anyone who continues to fund Haley from his political operation.
The Wall Street titans backing her bid though have indicated they are standing by her. Billionaires Stanley Druckenmiller, Henry Kravis, and Cliff Asness are scheduled to co-host a New York fundraiser Tuesday.
Haley finished second to Trump in New Hampshire but as his last remaining major challenger aims to win support from donors frustrated by the prospect of a Biden-Trump rematch in November.
Donor interest in contributing to SFA Fund Inc., the Haley-allied super political action committee, has only surged since Trump issued that threat, according to a person familiar with the super PAC’s fundraising who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations. SFA Fund raised $50.1 million in the second half of 2023.
Haley said she took in $24 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, though that total includes money raised for her leadership PAC and SFA Fund along with her campaign. Her campaign said it had raised $2.6 million since New Hampshire’s Tuesday primary.
Trump has yet to release his fundraising numbers from the last quarter ahead of a Wednesday FEC reporting deadline. He raised $45.5 million in the third quarter of 2023, when he capitalized on his four indictments — even using a mugshot from Georgia to fundraise.
Biden raised $97 million in the fourth quarter and his campaign reported $117 million cash on hand, a record for a Democratic candidate at that point in the election cycle. But Biden can raise money in amounts of $929,600 from individuals, with the funds split among his campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties.
That maximum donation to the Biden Victory Fund dwarfs the $3,300 individual contribution limit that campaigns like Trump and Haley’s, which lack a broader agreement with their party, can raise.
(Updates with more names of donors, in fifth paragraph.)
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