Vegas billionaire donor keeps GOP candidates guessing–71fh.,b12
But the truth, more than half a dozen sources close to Adelson say, is more complicated. The casino owner, who together with his wife spent nearly $100 million in the 2012 campaign cycle, is still weighing his options. “The guy is cagey,” said a conservative leader with ties into the donor community who spoke with Adelson recently. “He said ‘I like Rubio,’ he did not say ‘I support him’… But he also said that his spouse feels more strongly about Cruz.”
He still meets with and talks regularly to Cruz and has told sources he likes what both Cruz and Rubio are saying. He is particularly taken by Rubio’s hawkish foreign policy positions. He has also met several times with Jeb Bush’s campaign and has been reassured, after an early stumble, that the former Florida governor will staunchly defend Israel – the subject the billionaire cares about most. All three campaigns claim to be optimistic about winning Adelson’s support, but sources close to the billionaire say he is thinking about the race in a more pragmatic way than in 2012 when he had a deep loyalty to Gingrich.
Above all, Adelson has told his confidants that he is determined to win this time and has hinted that it might be unwise to throw his lot in too early on a candidate who can’t beat the front-runner Donald Trump.
“I think he will probably wait until the primary process plays itself out,” Rogich said. “That’s what he’s always told me in the past, that he’ll wait until the debates are finalized and wait until the early primary states” have voted.”Newt and he were very close, so there was a different dynamic there. I think he will wait things out because it’s never too late to get involved when you have resources like that to give.”
Another source familiar with Adelson’s political operation said that people often underestimate how the fortunes of his casino interests affect his willingness to give money to politicians. Part of Adelson’s current caution, the source suggested, is the recent damage to his casinos in Macau, where the Chinese authorities are targeting high roller gamblers in an anti-corruption crackdown. The Sands share price has been falling and billions have been wiped off the market cap.
He also met with Trump during the recent Republican debate at Adelson’s Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski sat in on the meeting and told The Hill, “Mr. Trump has said that he’s not seeking financial support from Mr. Adelson but that he would be honored to have his support in the voting booth.” Lewandowski said he got no indication of Adelson’s intentions. In conversations around that period, Adelson consistently suggested one thing: He badly wants to win this election and is prepared to spend what it takes to do so.
With a net worth estimated by Forbes to be $23 billion, Adelson can afford to spend a lot. And freed from personal obligations of friendship, he can afford to hold off and enjoy the courtship until he feels confident that he has a candidate who can win.
source-the hill, jonathan swan, sheldon adelson, andy abbound, sig rogich, jeff sadosky, corey lewandowski