A major Republican donor and one-time financial backer of former President Donald Trump is now a leader in the Florida chapter of No Labels’ third-party presidential bid.
Allan Keen, a Florida-based real estate developer and investor who gave more than $137,000 to Trump-related election entities last cycle, has joined the centrist political group in a leadership role with its Florida chapter.
“I help when I can help. I believe in the cause,” Keen told POLITICO. After Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2020, he said he surrendered his Republican voter registration card for one that says, “No Labels Party of Florida.”
Keen’s involvement with No Labels is an extension of the work he has done with the group since 2016, including donating to its Problem Solvers PAC. But it is likely to heighten Democratic criticism that the third-party presidential bid will only hurt President Joe Biden’s reelection prospects.
No Labels, which referred all questions to Keen, has insisted that it does not want to play the role of spoiler in electing Trump. But it has also directly solicited financial help from GOP fundraisers, of which Keen is a member. And some Republicans concede that its presence on the ticket will harm the current president.
“A third party will likely benefit Trump,” said former Trump spokesperson Sean Spicer, whether it’s No Labels or Green Party candidate Cornel West. He compared such efforts to Jill Stein’s Green Party campaign in 2016. “West only needs 30,000 votes” to tip Wisconsin to Republicans, Spicer said at the Republican debate in Milwaukee last week.
Much earlier in his political-giving career, Keen supported Democrats. But his most recent roster of beneficiaries includes GOP luminaries such as Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Boehner, Marco Rubio and the Bush-Cheney ticket. He has also donated to Arizona Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Krysten Sinema’s campaign as recently as this year.
Keen initially backed former Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 primary before, in his words, “reluctantly” voting for Trump. Though he did not approve of everything Trump did — “he did a bunch of stupid things,” Keen said, like attacking the late Arizona Sen. John McCain — the Florida businessperson supported Trump for reelection and hosted an $11,500 per person fundraiser for the then-president in February 2020.
“I did support him. I gave him money and went to a few events. I felt he was a better candidate at that time,” Keen said in an interview.
Keen attributes Trump’s attacks on McCain in part to his loss in Arizona. He also criticized “all the shenanigans” of Jan. 6, which, he said, prompted him to go all in on No Labels. Keen didn’t think what Trump did was “appropriate.”
The Florida investor first became involved with No Labels in 2016 and joined the board of the Florida affiliate after the 2020 election. The Florida group is headed by Kathleen Shanahan, a businessperson who previously served as chief of staff for then-Gov. Jeb Bush.
Keen said he has no “predetermined opinion” on who might top a No Labels presidential ticket. “That, of course, will be a process,” he said. “I think everyone feels that reason and good judgment will prevail such that there is no anointed person — the way it should be.”
No Labels has yet to choose presidential and vice presidential candidates, but it has already qualified as a presidential party that can run candidates on the ballot in 10 states, including in both Arizona and Florida.
The group has hinted that it may drop its third-party effort if Trump is not the nominee. That scenario is looking increasingly less likely. At the debate in Milwaukee last week, most of Trump’s rivals vowed to support him even if charges against Trump on Jan. 6 result in a conviction.