The pack of potential presidential GOP candidates is battling it out to win the backing of wealthy donors who are sitting on their money while taking their time deciding who they will support in the race.
As the competition rages between high-profile Republicans with no clear frontrunner, the major patrons are in no rush to write large checks to a 2016 campaign, which could hold up the GOP race for months, according to The Washington Post.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush have targeted the same donors in the Sunshine State while in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz, along with Bush, are hoping that "bundlers" will eventually join their cause.
Perry and Cruz have already set their sights on rich evangelical Christians, who are also the focus of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the Post reported.
Rich donors are wary of jumping into the presidential race too early because they fear it could create the kind of costly, divisive battle that created problems for the party in the 2012 primaries.
But senior party fundraisers claim that the lack of funds will mean that most campaigns will not be fully functional until the spring, the Post said.
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, one of the GOP’s super donors, has shown he’s reticent to back a candidate too far in advance, and instead is more likely to start a super PAC with his wife, Miriam, to help congressional candidates in the next election cycle.
According to the newspaper, veteran fundraisers are considering pooling their donations so that it will help one or two candidates rather than spreading out the wealth to what could amount to as many as 23 candidates.
The fact that many donors are waiting for Bush to decide whether to run is also holding up their decision on who they should support in the presidential campaign, which essentially results in a ton of cash sitting on the sidelines.
Saying the lack of a frontrunner has had the effect of "just freezing" many donors, Dan Senor, former adviser to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, said, "You’d be hard pressed to find any invisible primary going back decades that was this fluid. This is going to be chaotic and cluttered for some time."
Earlier this week, it was revealed that dozens of the Republican Party's top donors and fundraisers have been discussing ways
to narrow the wide field of possible candidates to just one establishment figure capable of beating presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The talks are focused on three potential candidates believed to have the capability of raising the $80 million likely needed to secure the party's nomination —
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney.
"It’s really important for those donors who share the center-right philosophy to try to clear the field," said Bobbie Kilberg, a longtime Republican fundraiser in Virginia who raised $4 million for Romney’s campaign. "We have to have one candidate we can all get behind."
Kilberg added, "It’s a very large field of very competent candidates, and there’s just so much money to go around."
And Richard Hohlt, a Washington lobbyist and a veteran of campaign finance committees, told the Post, "The adage of jumping on the bandwagon early doesn’t apply this presidential cycle."
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