Adelson Wants to Back Republicans Who Can Win in 2016

Image: Adelson Wants to Back Republicans Who Can Win in 2016

Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 10:30 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major donor to campaigns during the 2012 election cycle, is looking at ways to make a greater impact in 2016 by supporting more mainstream Republicans.

According to The Washington Post, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, who spent more than $92 million in 2012 helping mostly losing candidates, are taking a more strategic approach for the next cycle by helping to select a Republican nominee they believe will have broad electoral appeal.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

"The bar for support is going to be much higher," Andy Abboud, Adelson's top political adviser, told the Post. "There's going to be a lot more scrutiny."

In 2012, the Adelsons made significant personal donations to Newt Gingrich's long-shot bid, undermining Mitt Romney in the early round of primaries. Going forward, they will be less likely to rely on personal loyalties as they sift through the lengthy list of possible Republican presidential contenders, the Post reported.

The strategy is expected to favor more establishment candidates, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all four of whom will be at Adelson's luxury hotel in Las Vegas this week for the spring meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

The event is being dubbed as the "Sheldon Primary," according to the Post.

"He doesn't want a crazy extremist to be the nominee," Victor Chaltiel, a GOP donor and friend of Adelson, told the Post. "He wants someone who has the chance to win the election, who is reasonable in his positions, who has convictions but is not totally crazy."

Chaltiel said he believes Adelson is still "neutral," but is concerned about the impact of the George Washington Bridge scandal on Christie's political image. Adelson also admires Bush, believing he could win over a number of non-white voters, given that Bush's wife is Mexican-American, the Post reported.

Shawl Steel, a Republican National Committee member and major California fundraiser, said Adelson is "a very rational guy" who learned his lesson from 2012.

"He wants to have the guy or the gal who's most likely to put a coalition together to win in November," Steel said. "The candidate will have to have a strong resume—no sudden lightening-new guy—will have to build a formidable fundraising apparatus and really be emotionally tethered to bringing in middle-class Latinos, Asian Pacifics, Jews, and blacks like never before," Steel told the Post.

Adelson was recently ranked eighth on the annual Forbes Billionaires list with an estimated net worth of $38 billion.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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