A network of megadonors whose biggest members have stayed on the sidelines in the Republican presidential primary will meet next month in Dallas as advisers to two of the candidates hoping to defeat Donald J. Trump will make one of their last pitches for support, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The multiday event will feature advisers to Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, according to the two people. It will be hosted by Harlan Crow, the wealthy real-estate developer who backs Republicans and who has recently drawn attention for his friendship with and financial ties to Justice Clarence Thomas. Mr. Crow is hosting a separate fund-raiser for Ms. Haley next week, according to Bloomberg News.
The donor network, known as the American Opportunity Alliance, was founded a decade ago by a group of billionaires, including the hedge fund executive Paul Singer; Kenneth Griffin, another prominent investor; and members of the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs.
The gathering next month comes as a number of top Republican donors are increasingly concerned that a divided Republican primary — even just through the early states — will almost unavoidably lead to Mr. Trump’s renomination.
The group does not move in unison, and the meeting is in some ways a final effort for some donors to see if contributing to any candidate — either Mr. DeSantis or Ms. Haley — remains a worthwhile investment, given Mr. Trump’s commanding lead in the polls and his penchant for vengeance against those who cross him.
There are members of the network who will be present who are already supporting either Ms. Haley or Mr. DeSantis. Underscoring the complicated nature of the current intraparty feud is the expected attendance at the event of Brooke Rollins, a former Trump administration adviser who leads the America First Policy Institute, and Linda McMahon, another former Trump appointee and close friend of the former president, according to one of the people familiar with the event.
The circumstances of the meeting reflect the reality of the current race: Mr. Trump leads by enough that he has skipped the first two primary debates and called for the Republican National Committee to cancel the remaining calendar and unite behind him.
One Republican strategist who works with the group and who was not authorized to speak publicly said bluntly of the gathering that the priority was beating President Biden next November — not the ongoing Republican primary. The person said the campaign teams will have the opportunity to lay out — and try to sell — their paths to victory. The person added that Mr. Trump’s path to victory, meanwhile, was “straightforward.”
Mr. DeSantis and Ms. Haley are among the leading Republicans seeking to stop Mr. Trump, but remain far behind in the polls.
Mr. DeSantis has been Mr. Trump’s top rival for the entirety of 2023, but for months he has lost ground to the former president while seeing other candidates make gains. He has been increasingly banking his candidacy on a superlative showing in Iowa, the first state that will vote. Mr. DeSantis has also upset some of the American Opportunity Alliance network donors with his comments minimizing the Russian incursion into Ukraine as a geopolitical concern for the United States.
For Ms. Haley’s team, simply being given equal billing with Mr. DeSantis at a crucial donor meeting is a success of sorts, as the former United Nations ambassador has converted two solid debates into momentum and money.
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