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Peltz, Druckenmiller, Navarro back Tim Scott PACs as DeSantis falters

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) speaks as he is interviewed by Former Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson during the Family Leadership Summit at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa, July 14, 2023.

Scott Morgan | Reuters

A super PAC backing Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. on Monday disclosed major donations from some of the nation’s wealthiest business leaders.

The backing underscores the outsized support that Scott enjoys from Wall Street donors, even as polls gauge his support among likely primary voters at under 5 percent.

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Contributions from just three billionaires, Nelson Peltz, Jeffrey Yass and Stanley Druckenmiller, which have not been previously reported, added up to almost $1 million for the pro-Scott Opportunity Matters Fund Action PAC in the first half of the year, filings with the Federal Election Commission show.

Peltz, a billionaire and one-time Trump backer, hosted a fundraiser in 2020 to support the former president’s failed bid for reelection.

Between April and June this year, he gave $80,000 to the PAC backing Scott, who only officially entered the race in May.

Peltz is a founding partner of investment firm Trian Fund Management and was a supporter of the former president until Trump supporters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. More recently, Peltz has reportedly been souring on another 2024 Republican presidential hopeful, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as the once promising campaign has faced headwinds since its launch in May.

Yass, a billionaire GOP megadonor and a co-founder of Susquehanna International Group, donated $600,000 to the same pro-Scott super PAC from March through June, according to Monday’s filings.

This isn’t the only time this year Yass has donated to an effort to halt Trump. He also gave $15 million to Club for Growth Action, a separate super PAC that is taking on Trump’s latest run for president.

Druckenmiller, a veteran Wall Street investor, donated $150,000 to the Opportunity Matters Fund Action in April, the filing showed.

Druckenmiller is also co-hosting a splashy Hamptons fundraiser next month to support Scott’s presidential bid. Marc Rowan, the CEO of Apollo Global Management, is co-hosting the event.

Rowan donated $250,000 to a different pro-Scott super PAC, Trust In The Mission (TIM) PAC, last quarter. Federal Election Commission filings show that he also donated $6,600 to Scott’s campaign for president in June. Ben Navarro, a South Carolina businessman and CEO of Sherman Financial Group, donated $5 million to the same committee.

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Representatives for Yass, Peltz and Rowan did not return a request for comment. Druckenmiller and Navarro did not return requests for comment from CNBC.

The high-dollar support for Scott comes as Trump continues to dominate the rest of the field in the polls. A New York Times-Siena College survey released Monday showed Trump winning 54% of likely GOP primary voters, with DeSantis at 17% and Scott at 3%.

But with the DeSantis campaign burning through cash and laying off staffers, Scott’s low key operation could offer wealthy donors what they see as the best opportunity to counter Trump’s influence on the party.

Scott’s campaign raised $7 million in the second quarter of 2023, and ended the quarter with around $21 million on hand.

DeSantis still saw donations from notable billionaires, such as veteran hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones. But while his campaign raised $20 million in the second quarter alone, it reported having about $12 million in cash on hand, according to filings.

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