Top GOP donors and their allies privately are pushing Sen. Tim Scott's team for more detail about his bachelor status before deciding how much to support him in the presidential campaign, according to two people familiar with the conversations.
Why it matters: Many of the donors are in the market for a viable alternative to former President Trump — but still aren't sure about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who's running second to Trump in GOP polls. Scott, 57, is among those trying to woo such fundraisers.
• The U.S. hasn't elected an unmarried person as president in 139 years. It's typical for candidates to trot out their families to try to enhance their appeal to voters. • Scott's reluctance to say much about his private life has raised concerns among some conservative Republican donors, according to the sources, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the issue.
Responding to this reporting, a senior official for Scott's campaign told Axios the South Carolina senator will be discussing the issue in the coming weeks.
• During an interview with Axios in May, Scott said he had a girlfriend but kept her identity private. • "The fact that half of America's adult population is single for the first time, to suggest that somehow being married or not married is going to be the determining factor of whether you're a good president or not — it sounds like we're living in 1963 and not 2023," Scott said then. • He also spun being single as a potential plus. • "I probably have more time, more energy, and more latitude to do the job," he said, adding that even so, "my girlfriend wants to see me when I come home."
Potential donors who've asked Scott's campaign about his personal life have been told much the same thing. But for some, it has only fueled their curiosity and apprehension, the sources said.
• "[New Jersey Sen.] Cory Booker went through the same thing running for president in 2020 and it seems to not have been a problem for him — but maybe that's more normal for Democrats," said one source familiar with the sentiment among GOP donors. • The same person told Axios that some donors have questions, but it's not a majority. "I'm surprised it doesn't come up more," the source said.