A key network of Republican megadonors to meet with Trump and Haley Camps

The Republican megadonor network has invited aides to Donald J. Trump and Nikki Haley to make presentations at the group’s winter meeting next week, as wealthy aides weigh in on the presidential race with just nine months to go until Election Day.

The network, known as the American Opportunity Alliance, is expected to hear from Ms. Haley’s campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, and Trump’s top adviser, Susie Wiles, at a rally in Palm Beach, Florida, according to two people familiar with the event.

The group meeting was previously posted by Puck.

The network was founded a decade ago by a group of wealthy donors, including members of the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, and investors Paul Singer and Kenneth Griffin.

But donors to the American Opportunity Alliance are not moving in unison, and people who support Ms. Haley — and who backed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who dropped out of the race last Sunday — are part of the network. Some members of the group have spoken openly about wanting a candidate other than Mr. Trump.

But even as officials representing Ms. Haley and Mr. DeSantis presented at the group’s meeting in Dallas in early October — when their campaigns were the only ones whose female advisers were invited — some people working with the AOA were clear that the focus was more on general elections than in the primary cycle. A Republican strategist who worked with the group called Trump’s path to the nomination “flat” at the time.

Since then, Mr. Trump has won both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries, beating Mr. DeSantis and Ms. Haley in the first contest and Ms. Haley in the second, despite having little money from a major donor. He also has some supporters who have worked with AOA in the past, such as Linda McMahon, who ran the Small Business Administration under President Trump.

Both calls were made before the New Hampshire primary last Tuesday, according to one of the people familiar with the plans.

Ms. Haley has campaigned aggressively and is well-funded as the race heads toward the Feb. 24 primary in South Carolina, her home state but where Mr. Trump is also popular.

Mr. Trump has begun seeking big donors as he and his team prepare for a general election in which they expect Democrats to be well-funded. Still, Mr. Trump has a complicated relationship with the party’s major donors. He also faces four criminal charges, and a federal jury on Friday ordered him to pay more than $83 million in civil damages to writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of raping her decades ago.

Many of the donors are closely tied to remnants of the pre-Trump Republican Party and tried to stop his rise in 2016. Mr. Trump has also repeatedly attacked big donors as part of the “swamp” he derides. He issued such a threat this week on his social media platform, Truth Social, when he vowed to freeze any donors who support Ms Haley in the future.

Ms. Haley’s campaign said the reaction to the threat was the opposite of what Mr. Trump intended, saying she had a huge surge in fundraising in the 24 hours that followed.

This weekend, Americans for Prosperity, the political network established by the industrialist Koch brothers, is holding its own meeting. The network supported Ms. Haley, but as The New York Times recently reported, some of her donors regretted it.

At the meeting in Indian Wells, Calif., a small group of donors was briefed by two top officials from the network’s policy arm, Americans for Prosperity Action.

According to two people briefed on what was said, two senior advisers, Emily Seidel and Michael Palmer, said backing Ms. Haley was the right choice, but that officials knew it would be an uphill battle for anyone to defeat Mr. Trump. until nomination.

They have also indicated that they will focus heavily on the Senate and House races, especially if Mr. Trump becomes the nominee.

Ms. Haley held a video call with donors at the meeting and answered questions about her way forward, according to one of the people familiar with what happened.

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