Rejecting Trump, Wall Street Republican donors scatter largesse

18 Oct 2016 11:32


Largely united in their dislike of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, some ultra-wealthy U.S. investors who play in conservative politics are warily weighing their choices, torn between third-party candidates, simply focusing on down-ballot contests or even voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

As Clinton's lead over Trump has grown in opinion polls, some hedge fund managers who have traditionally donated big money to Republican presidential candidates see the congressional elections as their best hope.

Stanley Druckenmiller, one of the best-performing hedge fund managers of all time, told Reuters he had recently given to Republican candidates for Congress in the hope of creating a “firewall” against Clinton’s economic policies, including more government control of healthcare and what he described as “astronomical disincentives” to invest.

Druckenmiller, who invests privately since closing his hedge fund firm in ۲۰۱۰, said Trump had an “unstable personality” that ruled him out as a candidate.

“I might just vote on the down ballot part of the ticket and not bother with the top,” he said.

Public filings show Druckenmiller donated to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in August and the National Republican Congressional Committee in March.

He disavowed long-shot Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, saying he was "out the window" after a couple of high-profile lapses on foreign affairs, including struggling to name an international leader he admired.

But some Republican hedge fund managers contacted by Reuters said they planned to vote for Johnson, who is polling in the single digits.

Among them is Tiger Management founder Julian Robertson, according to spokesman Fraser Seitel. Robertson previously backed Republicans Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people who say they’ll vote for Johnson or not vote at all because they don’t want to be held responsible for having elected Hillary Clinton,” one hedge fund billionaire said in describing industry views.

The person, who requested anonymity because they did not want their political views to be public, plans to vote for Clinton. The person believes Clinton is the lesser of two evils and that no vote, or one for someone else, could help Trump.

Other conservative investors focused on congressional races instead of the next president include Cliff Asness of AQR Capital Management and Paul Singer of Elliott Management, according to people familiar with the situation.

Asness recently gave to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and a political action committee supporting Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey, according to public filings.

Singer has also given to the NRSC, in addition to Together Holding Our Majority PAC, which recently sent money to two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Richard Burr of North Carolina.

Asness and Singer declined to comment. Spokespersons for Trump, Clinton and Johnson did not respond to a request for comment.


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