By Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Alexandra Ulmer
(Reuters) – Hedge fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin gave $5 million to an outside group supporting Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley this month, a person familiar with the donation said on Tuesday.
The support from Griffin, a Republican mega donor, may help Haley assuage concerns of running out of money after she lost the first two Republican nominating contests to runaway frontrunner Donald Trump and faces a steep path to clinching the party’s presidential nomination ahead of the November election.
However, it remains unclear when in January Griffin made the donations, a potentially important fact given Haley lost the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, on Jan. 15 and Jan. 23, respectively.
There is also no immediate indication that more donations will follow from Griffin, whose net worth Forbes estimates at around $37 billion.
When asked whether Griffin, who runs investment firm Citadel, might donate more to Haley, the person familiar with his thinking said, “We don’t know.”
In a statement to Reuters, Griffin appeared to be focused on the congressional races.
“While voters decide on who will serve as the Republican Party’s nominee for President, I will continue my focus on actively supporting U.S. House and Senate candidates,” Griffin said.
The source added that Griffin had donated $10 million to a super PAC supporting Republican David McCormick’s Senate run in Pennsylvania and $5 million to a super PAC supporting Republican Tim Sheehy’s Senate run in Montana.
Griffin donated some $67 million in the 2020 election cycle, making him the third largest individual Republican donor that cycle, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks money in politics.
Haley, a foreign policy hawk and fiscal conservative, has attracted plenty of donor attention. Her main issue has not been raising money, but rather peeling away enough committed Trump voters to support her candidacy.
Since losing in New Hampshire, Haley has ramped up attacks against Trump, who is facing multiple criminal cases. She has said that Trump, 77, is too old to be president and described his legal entanglements as distractions.
Trump, has been openly furious that Haley has remained in the race, last week issued a threat to donors to stop funding her as he seeks to knock her out of the race before the next major primary race, in South Carolina on Feb. 24. Trump’s team has also been courting some of Haley’s donors, trying to get them to jump ship.
Highlighting her more combative stance against Trump, Haley has fundraised off his warning to donors and vowed to keep campaigning.
(Editing by Ross Colvin and Bill Berkrot)