A group of wealthy Republican donors known as the American Opportunity Alliance will convene next month in Dallas to discuss their support for candidates hoping to defeat Donald J. Trump in the presidential primary. The event will feature advisors to Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and former Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina. The gathering reflects concerns among top Republican donors that a divided primary will lead to Trump’s renomination. While some members of the network already support DeSantis or Haley, the meeting will allow them to assess the candidates and their paths to victory.
Both DeSantis and Haley are seeking to challenge Trump’s dominance in the polls but currently lag behind. DeSantis, who has lost ground to Trump in recent months, is banking on a strong showing in Iowa to revitalize his campaign. However, some American Opportunity Alliance donors have been disheartened by DeSantis’ comments downplaying the importance of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. For Haley, being given equal billing with DeSantis at the donor meeting is a significant achievement, as she has gained momentum and financial support from her strong performances in debates. Nonetheless, the uphill battle to stop Trump is evident in a memo from Win It Back PAC, which has struggled to undermine Trump’s conservative credentials among primary voters.
Despite efforts by outside groups to challenge Trump’s support, his dominance remains steadfast. Ads and testimonials highlighting his perceived electoral weaknesses have not significantly swayed Republican voters. Consequently, anti-Trump groups have scaled back their spending in the primary, as they believe it is unlikely for any alternative candidate to emerge. These groups are instead focused on opposing Trump in the general election. The sentiment among Republican strategists is that Trump’s path to victory is straightforward, while the priority for donors is to defeat President Biden next November.