Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with reporters as he emerges from the Senate chamber following a series or rare Sunday votes on July 26, 2015.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
July 27, 2015 3:59 PM EDT

Houston entrepreneur Michael Rydin has contributed to five Republican presidential candidates so far: Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina. But he’s not done. The software developer is now considering giving money to Donald Trump as well.

“I want to get a discussion going. Controversy gets people talking,” he said. “I know Trump is unlikely to become the president, but he gets other candidates talking on issues that they would otherwise avoid.”

Rydin is part of a select group of Republican donors who have given to more than one candidate in the crowded 2016 presidential primary. A TIME analysis of first-quarter campaign financial reports showed at least 971 people have given to two or more Republican candidates.

With an unprecedented 16 candidates running for office, donors who might support more than one candidate have more options than ever. And some are taking advantage of the opportunity to endorse more than one campaign.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has received the most donations from people who also gave to a rival candidate. The most popular combination of donations was Cruz and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, with at least 206 people giving to both, followed by Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, with at least 183 contributing to both.

Kenneth Abramowitz, a financial analyst in Connecticut, argues that “the more Republican voices, the better.” Abramowitz gave a total of $10,400 to the four Republican candidates who held breakfast and lunch events in his area: Jeb Bush, Carson, Rubio and Cruz.

Shelley Payer, a retired Florida banker who has given to three campaigns, says she gave to the candidates who interested her: Rubio, Paul and Carson.

“Everybody has something to say,” she said.

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Write to Aditya Agrawal at aditya.agrewal@time.com.

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