WASHINGTON — The Membership for Progress, a conservative anti-tax group that spent practically $150 million prior to now two election cycles, has invited a half-dozen potential Republican presidential candidates to its annual donor retreat subsequent month — however not Donald J. Trump.
In a gathering with reporters on Monday, David McIntosh, president of the group, mentioned that Republican possibilities of successful again the White Home subsequent 12 months can be diminished if Mr. Trump have been as soon as once more on the high of the ticket and that he hoped to introduce Republican donors to different potentialities.
“The celebration needs to be open to a different candidate,” Mr. McIntosh mentioned, suggesting that Republicans had already misplaced too many elections with Mr. Trump because the face of the celebration.
Mr. Trump and the Membership for Progress, which is predicated in Washington, have been frequent foils in the course of the 2022 midterms, backing opposing candidates in some high-profile main contests, together with Senate races in Ohio and Pennsylvania. When the group began campaigning final 12 months in opposition to J.D. Vance, Mr. Trump’s decide in Ohio, the previous president ordered an aide to textual content Mr. McIntosh a vulgar message.
On the eve of Mr. Trump’s presidential announcement in November, the group publicized inner polling that confirmed the previous president trailing Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida with Republican main voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. (Mr. Trump is thus far the one declared candidate within the race, however President Biden is anticipated to hunt re-election.)
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Mr. McIntosh insisted that there was no private animosity guiding the group’s curiosity in in search of another choice for the 2024 nomination. As a substitute, he mentioned that Mr. Trump had proved to be poisonous amongst basic election voters, including that Republicans had misplaced elections in 2018, 2020 and 2022 on the previous president’s watch.
Mr. Trump’s standing amongst Republicans dipped in public opinion polls in November and December. Along with being largely blamed for the Republicans’ disappointing midterm season, he was additionally roundly criticized after hosting a private dinner — every week after his marketing campaign announcement — with Kanye West, who has been denounced for making antisemitic statements, and Nick Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and distinguished younger white supremacist.
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He reported a less-than-stellar fund-raising haul in his first marketing campaign finance report final week, one more sign that his maintain on some conservatives could be loosening. And the donor community created by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch is preparing to become involved within the presidential primaries in 2024, with the intention of turning the web page on Mr. Trump.
Nonetheless, Mr. Trump stays the front-runner for his celebration’s presidential nomination, and his typical fund-raising energy is in small-dollar donors. And, if he have been to seize his third consecutive nomination, Mr. McIntosh mentioned his group would assist Mr. Trump in opposition to Mr. Biden in 2024. In Mr. Trump’s presidential bid in 2016, the Membership for Progress initially opposed him, however finally bought on board.
A spokesman for Mr. Trump declined to remark and as a substitute pointed to a few social media posts two weeks in the past through which the previous president repeatedly attacked the membership, together with one which referred to each the group and to Mr. DeSantis as “globalists.”
On Monday, Mr. McIntosh spoke extremely of Mr. DeSantis and offered reporters with inner polling that confirmed the Florida governor beating Mr. Trump in a head-to-head main matchup, however trailing when the ballot included a wider, hypothetical subject of seven candidates. Mr. DeSantis, who gained re-election final 12 months, has not mentioned whether or not he’ll run for president in 2024.
Mr. McIntosh mentioned that Mr. DeSantis had been invited to his group’s donor retreat, together with the opposite 5 non-Trump potential candidates in his group’s ballot: former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia.
Mr. McIntosh declined to say whether or not some other contenders had accepted invites to the retreat, which is about to be held in Florida, dwelling to each Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis.
Mr. McIntosh mentioned Republicans had underperformed final 12 months partially due to abortion points, but additionally partially due to Mr. Trump. He mentioned the previous president’s insistence on selling candidates who repeated his lies concerning the 2020 election had unnerved voters, who seen Republican candidates as “future Trumps.”
“Trump was on the poll,” Mr. McIntosh mentioned. “So I fear that after we get right into a basic election, if Trump is the nominee, they’re going to have the ability to take a bit of Republican votes.”
Requested if he thought Mr. Trump might beat Mr. Biden, Mr. McIntosh mentioned, “Something is feasible.”
“The final three elections present he’s misplaced,” he added.