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Republican megadonor Ken Griffin gave $5 million to super PAC backing Nikki Haley

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event in Conway, S.C., Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Matthew Kelley)

NEW YORK (AP) — After initially staying out of the 2024 presidential race, billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin has thrown his support behind Nikki Haley as she takes on Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination.

Griffin made two contributions in December and January to a super PAC backing Haley's campaign totaling $5 million, according to Griffin's spokesperson Zia Ahmed.

The second donation was made in early January, before the Iowa caucuses in which Haley finished third behind Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The donations were disclosed Tuesday after Griffin mentioned earlier in the day while speaking at an investment conference in Miami that he had supported Haley. But it wasn't clear if he plans to continue supporting Haley, who lost by double digits last week to Trump in New Hampshire, a state where she was seen as having her best shot at stopping Trump's march to the nomination.

Despite her back-to-back losses in Iowa and New Hampshire and a tough path ahead, Haley has argued her performance has shown the strength of her candidacy and that she will continue on to the contest in her home state of South Carolina on February 24.

She has scheduled a string of fundraisers this week and next to try to bolster her campaign.

“It's a narrower road than it was eight weeks ago,” Griffin said earlier Tuesday of Haley's path to becoming the nominee.

Griffin later issued a rare statement Tuesday praising the former United Nations ambassador as someone with “a tremendous track record of leadership” and said, “America would be well served by someone with her foreign policy credentials and policy priorities in the White House.”

But he indicated he plans to concentrate his giving on other elections.

“While voters decide on who will serve as the Republican Party’s nominee for President, I will continue my focus on actively supporting U.S. House and Senate candidates prioritizing economic freedom and a strong defense of America at home and abroad,” Griffin said in the statement.

Griffin, who had not donated to Trump's presidential campaigns but had praised his fiscal policies, was among a group of mega-donors who stayed out of the 2024 presidential race as they watched candidates try to challenge the former president.

Griffin was initially expected to support DeSantis, having praised him before he jumped into the race last year. But Griffin did not donate to him after his launch in May and was unsettled about some of his policies around teaching gender and sexuality in Florida schools and his ongoing fight with Disney.