(NewsNation) — The race for the White House is already a crowded field right now, with eight declared Republican candidates and more likely to come. NewsNation is looking into the billionaires and multimillionaires filling the coffers of these campaigns.
Experts say which candidates billionaires throw their support behind can create momentum and even help choose a general election candidate.
When Republican Sen. Tim Scott officially threw his hat into the ring for president on Monday in North Charleston, South Carolina, he shouted out the name of a key mentor with an even more important checkbook, Oracle co-founder and billionaire Larry Ellison. Ellison is reportedly ready to spend millions to bolster Scott’s campaign.
The campaign in 2020 was the most expensive race in history, according to nonpartisan election group Open Secrets, which estimated the cost at $14 billion while suggesting that 2024 may be even bigger.
“Brand-name megadonors are providing more and more of the money, even though there’s millions of small donors who are very engaged. And that creates this troubling sense you can’t get to be president, or you can’t get to be the nominee for president, unless you have a bunch of kajillionaires behind you,” said Ian Vandewalker, senior counsel with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Elections and Politics Program.
Banking tycoon Timothy Mellon is backing Trump, already donating to the former president’s political action committee.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to launch his White House bid Wednesday, may have tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel in his corner.
“I think DeSantis would make a terrific president if he’s the Republican nominee. I will strongly support him in 2024,” Thiel said in a May 3 interview with journalist Bari Weiss.
Meanwhile, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has support from oil magnate Harold Hamm.
Possibly more notable, some donors have already said they won’t be supporting. Taking a stand against Trump are Charles Koch and Ronald Lauder, heir to cosmetic company Estee Lauder.
Pumping the brakes on support for DeSantis is John Catsimatidis, a New York supermarket and property magnate.
On the Democratic side, President Joe Biden is the obvious Democratic front-runner, with no significant challenges currently expected. He became the first candidate to raise more than $1 billion in 2020, with expected donations this cycle from billionaire LinkedIn co-founder Reed Hoffman and Alexander Soros, son of billionaire George Soros.
In a tweet, Alexander Soros said he’s “riding with Biden.”