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One evening last June, some of the Republican Party's wealthiest donors gathered for a cocktail party at an exclusive resort in Deer Valley, Utah, during a three-day retreat hosted by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.Trump's rise seemed to take place entirely outside the structures of the normal nomination process within the Republican party.Walker left the race just two months after officially entering it.Cruz has won just three of more than a dozen contests so far.Early in his run, Trump was a source of puzzlement for rich Republicans, such as those who gathered one Sunday in early August in the Hamptons, New York's gilded summer retreat destination, to discuss the 2016 race. Trump was not identified as a potential threat, not in the summer, nor in the fall of 2015, even as he eclipsed Bush, according to multiple interviews during that period with a member of the group's leadership team.Trump would be a footnote in the race by January or February 2016, he predicted.Duncan, the Positec CEO, said conversations he had with representatives from three campaigns as recently as November and December barely touched on Trump.
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