When Rick Scott, the Republican Senator from Florida, ran for a post of one of the party’s top fundraisers last year, he was seen as such a natural candidate that he was nominated without opposition. .
Two months later, Mr Scott’s future as chairman of the Republican National Senate Committee – the primary fundraising vehicle for the party’s Senate candidates – is in doubt after joining an effort to block certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
The unfortunate effort to reverse the outcome, and the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol that followed, provoked a backlash among a constituency the Republican Party cannot live without: its donors.
Nearly a dozen major U.S. companies have already announced they will stop donating to all Republican lawmakers who voted against certification, while some high net worth individuals have also announced that they will also stop making contributions.
Now some pillars of the party believe Mr Scott might find it difficult to stay in his role.
“When you see the scramble for donations, it’s very hard to see how Rick Scott can hold onto this job,” said a veteran Republican fundraiser. “This is not a tenable position for him with the current situation in the business community.”
Another GOP agent predicted that from a fundraising standpoint, the party was considering “roughly six months.”
On Tuesday, the United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington’s largest business lobby group, warned it would monitor how members of Congress conduct themselves over the next few days to determine whether to fund their future campaigns.
House policy director Neil Bradley told reporters on Tuesday that some members of Congress had “lost” support in the chamber because of their recent actions.
Jacob Hacker, professor of political science at Yale University, said companies had “started to realize this. . . factions of the party and its base pose a significant threat to their ability to achieve their long-term priorities ”.
On Tuesday, a new group called the Republican Accountability Project, founded by anti-Trump Republicans, announced it would spend $ 50 million to help re-elect GOP lawmakers who support Mr. Trump’s impeachment.
“I think you can’t overestimate the impact of businesses and individual donors turning their backs,” said Sarah Longwell, GOP strategist and one of the founders of the project.
She added: “I think this is something that is absolutely going to worry Republicans, especially if it goes from a lot of announcements and press releases to the whole party feeling like it has. really have an impact on fundraising. ”
Mr Trump and members of his family have repeatedly said they will support the main challenges against lawmakers who show insufficient loyalty to the incumbent president, even after his departure. Ms Longwell said she hoped her business could help mitigate the impact of these threats.
“That’s what they’re afraid of, and so we just wanted to introduce ourselves and say if you accept that, if you stand up now, we will be there with financial support,” she said.
Josh Hawley, the Republican senator from Missouri who led the call for voter certification to be blocked, has borne the brunt of the backlash from donors.
Hallmark, the state-based greeting card company, has asked him to return donations made by his employees. David Humphreys, a Missouri businessman whose family has donated millions of dollars to Mr. Hawley’s campaigns, and Sam Fox, another major GOP donor in the state, have announced that they will not support him more.
Mr Trump has helped Republicans fundraise through small donations from his legions of supporters, but some party fundraisers fear the source of cash will run dry when the president is not on the ballot, in especially if the outgoing president ends up relinquishing the GOP leadership.
Concern over donations comes as the Republican Party grapples with how it allowed its significant fundraising potential to evaporate last spring, when Democrats began to significantly outperform their opponents. both at the presidential level and in downward ballots.
And on Tuesday, the death of Sheldon Adelson, one of the party’s biggest donors and one of Mr. Trump’s earliest supporters, left the GOP without one of its main supporters.
Katon Dawson, the former South Carolina Republican Party chairman, who has raised funds from Adelson in the past, however, predicted that the family would continue to make contributions. He noted that Adelson’s widow, Miriam, was “still involved” in political donation decisions.
“I don’t see the family backing down,” he said. “They have a full political operation.”
Some Republican donors and fundraisers believe the money will start flowing again when the outrage over the attack on the U.S. Capitol begins to wane, and in time for the 2022 mid-term, when the party hopes to resume leadership. control of the House and the Senate.
“That too will pass,” said Dawson.
Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor, said, “You’re going to see a lot of Republican backers come to terms with the membership pretty quickly as soon as Democrats start imposing new taxes and regulations on the industry.”
But Ms Longworth is determined to ensure that the events of January 6 are not so quickly forgotten. “People saw Donald Trump inciting people to attack Capitol Hill,” she said. “If Republican fundraisers think it’s just a bad day, they’re going to pass and it will be gone. . . it is a miscalculation. ”
She added, “Our project is here to remember who did the right thing and make sure they are helped. And also who did the wrong thing.
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