Why Trump's Campaign Is Increasingly Fearful Of RFK Jr.
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is bringing in a larger-than-expected fundraising haul from donors who previously gave to former President Donald Trump, causing some Republicans to grow increasingly worried about his 2024 bid.
A new analysis of federal campaign finance records by Politico shows that the independent candidate has gotten a disproportionate amount of contributions from big donors who previously gave through WinRed – a grassroots fundraising tool used by Republicans. RFK Jr.'s nearly $2 million fundraising total from those approximately 2,100 large donors is just one-fifth of the roughly $10 million he brought in from large donors that didn't donate to any candidates in either 2016 or 2020.
The scion of the Kennedy political dynasty also brought in approximately $1.4 million from close to 1,700 contributors who previously gave through Democratic-aligned fundraising platform ActBlue. And as of the September 30 fundraising deadline, RFK Jr. raised more than $5 million from small donors. Large donors accounted for approximately two-thirds of the candidate's total.
"When Kennedy goes out there and runs against that establishment, he has to appreciate it probably ends up splitting votes off from President Trump," Senator JD Vance (R-Ohio), who has already endorsed Trump in 2024, told Politico.
In addition to siphoning off Trump donors, RFK Jr. is also enticing backers of other Republican presidential candidates to give to his campaign. Politico found that more than 160 of Kennedy's financial supporters also gave to tech entrepreneur and 2024 hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, and 100 more previously gave money to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
When breaking down RFK Jr.'s donors by campaign cycle, Politico also found that they gave a combined $216,000 to Donald Trump in 2016, compared to $124,000 for Hillary Clinton. And in 2020, RFK Jr.'s contributors donated $593,000 to Trump and $189,000 to Joe Biden. The comparison becomes even more stark in the current election cycle. Donors who gave to RFK Jr. this year also donated $170,000 to the 45th president of the United States, and just $2,000 to President Biden.
While Vance expressed concern about Kennedy, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) — another Trump acolyte — downplayed the independent presidential candidate's fundraising data.
"Oftentimes people can donate to someone that they’re not even voting for just to see their argument platforms," Gaetz said. "We’ve seen those calls among the sort of junior varsity slate of Republicans seeking the nomination, so I’m not as concerned about [donors]."
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
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