The battle lines in the 2024 GOP presidential primary are taking shape.
Everyone is taking sides in the coming fight between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump.
And this top Democrat prepared a secret plan to help Ron DeSantis defeat Trump.
In the 2022 election Democrat outside groups and super PACs pumped money into the GOP primary to boost MAGA candidates believing they were easier to beat.
Now in 2024 one of the Democrats’ top donors, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, is planning to figure out a way to spend money in Republican primaries to either help Ron DeSantis or defeat Trump.
Puck’s Theodore Schleifer reports:
Hoffman is indeed planning to get involved in the Republican presidential primary, I’m told, and his top adviser Dmitri Mehlhorn has communicated that plan in closed-door conversations as a top 2024 priority. The logic, according to a person familiar with the strategy, is pretty simple: Democrats have two shots to take out Donald Trump next year, first in the primary and then in the general, and it would be foolish to waste one of those chances.
Hoffman is a big-ticket Democrat donor.
In 2020 Hoffman donated $2 million to a super PAC backing Joe Biden and hosted a virtual fundraiser for Biden where tickets went for $875,000 a pop.
In the last election Hoffman donated over $4 million to Democrats and aligned groups in 2022 including $2 million to super PACs set up to keep Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House.
In this cycle Hoffman resolved to find a way to help DeSantis despite admitting that DeSantis may have a stronger chance to defeat Joe Biden because Hoffman does not view DeSantis to be as much of a threat to the system as Trump.
“Of course, Hoffman remains a Democrat, and he shares the belief of many Democrats that Biden would have a slightly better chance of defeating Trump than DeSantis. But while I would not expect Hoffman to do anything to overtly boost DeSantis like, say, donate to a pro-DeSantis super PAC, the line between beating Trump and boosting DeSantis can be thin. Hoffman’s team is currently studying early voting states—party registration requirements, demographic groups, state G.O.P. nominating rules, media ecosystems, etcetera—to see where they can move the needle. And if they do inadvertently elect a President DeSantis? I’m told that Hoffman and Mehlhorn, at a high level, don’t view the Florida governor as an existential threat to democracy, unlike Trump, and believe he may even have the ability to successfully govern,” Schleifer also reported.
To be clear, DeSantis has nothing to do with Hoffman.
DeSantis and his allies did not solicit this support nor does DeSantis want the help of Democrats.
But Hoffman does have a checkered past in politics.
In the 2017 special Alabama Senate election a cyber security group used Hoffman’s money to fund a disinformation campaign on social media where they pretended to be Republicans and posted negative information about GOP candidate Roy Moore in what they called a “false flag operation.”
“We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” a report about the project read.
The report said one of the goals of the project was to “enrage and energize Democrats” and “depress turnout” among Republicans.
Now Hoffman is looking to play a similar role in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
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