Hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer, a reported billionaire, is the “main donor” bankrolling the super PACs supporting Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) presidential campaign, The New York Times reported Friday.
According to The Times, Mercer, “a reclusive Long Islander who started I.B.M. and made his fortune using computer patterns to outsmart the stock market, emerged this week as a key bankroller of Cruz’s “surprisingly fast campaign start.”
Cruz made headlines on Wednesday when the super PACs reported raising what Bloomberg described as a stunning $US31 million in just a week.
“Cruz’s presidential effort is getting into the shock-and-awe fundraising business,” Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin wrote. “Even in the context of a presidential campaign cycle in which the major party nominees are expected to raise more than $US1.5 billion, Cruz’s haul is eye-popping, one that instantly raises the stakes in the Republican fundraising contest.”
Cruz’s campaign was not expected to be so well funded, especially because the firebrand senator has repeatedly railed against the Republican establishment and “crony capitalism.” Other presidential contenders like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) appear to be closer to establishment-friendly GOP donors.
Trevor Potter, a Republican campaign finance lawyer, told The Times that donors like Mercer are changing the landscape of electoral politics.
“It just takes a random billionaire to change a race and maybe change the country,” Potter said. “That’s what’s so radically different now.”
The paper reported that Mercer, who declined to comment, has not said anything publicly about his financial support for Cruz or why he’s backing the senator’s presidential campaign, which launched on March 23. According to The Daily Beast, Mercer’s hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, “recently faced an unflattering congressional investigation, the results of which indicated that it used complex and unorthodox financial structures to dramatically lower its tax burden.”
Cruz’s campaign, required to be independent of the super PACs, previously told Business Insider that it was more than excited by the report indicating the committees were flush with money.
“We are thrilled by the report!” his spokeswoman said.
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