Co-founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, center, says the Pledge of Allegiance before Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott delivers his speech announcing his candidacy for president of the United States on the campus of Charleston Southern University in North Charleston, S.C., Monday, May 22, 2023.
Mic Smith | AP
Oracle co-founder and Republican megadonor Larry Ellison is preparing to spend millions of dollars backing Sen. Tim Scott’s run for president.
The plans have been in motion since the 2022 midterms, when Ellison donated $30 million to a pro-Scott super PAC, Opportunity Matters Fund, according to people familiar with the Oracle executive chairman’s plans. People who declined to be named for this story did so in order to speak freely about private planning and deliberations.
Scott announced his campaign Monday.
A Republican strategist and fundraiser close to Ellison told CNBC that the businessman’s donations to the super PAC this time are likely to at least double what he gave in 2022.
The super PAC during the midterms backed Scott and spent millions more for other Republicans running for Senate seats, including just under $2 million for failed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, according to the nonpartisan OpenSecrets. The Opportunity Matters Fund PAC has been rebranded for Scott’s White House run with a new name: Trust In The Mission PAC, or TIM PAC.
Ellison attended Scott’s campaign announcement Monday in South Carolina. Ellison, who has a net worth of about $115 billion, sat in a VIP section at the rally.
Scott praised Ellison at the rally, calling the businessman “one of my mentors.” A spokesman for the Scott campaign did not return requests for comment.
Ellison contributed just over $7 million to various political causes in 2020, including $5 million to the Opportunity Matters Fund and $1 million toward a super PAC that supported Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, as she succesfully ran for reelection, according to OpenSecrets.
Ellison donated $5 million during the 2016 election cycle to the Conservative Solutions PAC, a super PAC that spent over $30 million backing Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s failed bid for the presidency, according to Federal Election Commission records. The PAC also spent millions opposing former President Donald Trump, according to the records.
Another veteran Republican fundraiser told CNBC that Ellison is already planning to donate up to $10 million to the TIM PAC in the early going of Scott’s run. Ellison has signaled to allies that he could give at least between $20 million and $30 million more this cycle, this person said.
Ellison admires Scott a great deal for the senator’s strong support for Israel, according to a lobbyist who’s worked with Oracle and has known Ellison for years.
U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), the only Black Republican senator, announces his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential race in North Charleston, South Carolina, May 22, 2023.
Randall Hill | Reuters
A recent Morning Consult survey suggests that Scott is behind many of his Republican rivals. The poll has Scott with 1% of primary support, with Trump leading the poll with 61%.
Ellison didn’t return a request for comment. A spokesperson for Oracle did not return requests for comment.
Ellison might not be the only mega-billionaire in Scott’s corner as the 2024 race heats up.
The Republican strategist close to Ellison also noted that Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk could follow his friend and supporter Ellison in backing the South Carolina senator.
Musk has recently followed Scott on Twitter, retweeted the senator’s tweet featuring the video of the campaign announcement and praised a recent Scott ad. “Great statement by @votetimscott!,” Musk tweeted on Friday. Musk, who has a net worth of about $176 billion, previously said he would support Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis if he ran for president.
Musk did not return a request for comment.