Right-wing casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is leaning toward backing Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination, sources close to Adelson told Politico.
Rubio and Adelson recently met in the latter’s offices at the Venetian Las Vegas, one of Adelson’s casinos, where the aging magnate, known for his ultra-hawkish views on Israel, heaped praise on the Florida senator, the web site reported.
Politico’s sources said Adelson has made no final decision yet on who to endorse, but momentum has strongly shifted to Rubio.
An endorsement from Adelson could bring Rubio a river of cash. In 2012, Adelson spent more than $100 million on Republican candidates. A formal endorsement by Adelson — derisively known to Democrats as the ‘Sheldon Primary’ — could come as soon as the end of October, the sources said.
Rubio’s poll numbers have inched up in recent weeks, and the backing of the 81-year-old Adelson would give his quest for the 2016 Republican nomination a serious boost. He still lags behind frontrunner Donald Trump and newcomer Ben Carson in the polls.
To outlast such well-funded establishment favorites as former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Rubio will need the support of deep-pocketed contributors like Adelson, whose $32 billion net worth makes him the nation’s 12th-richest person, according to Forbes.
Rubio’s outspoken support for Israel is a big draw for Adelson, although all the GOP candidates have sought to stake out strong backing for the Jewish state and most have slammed President Obama for perceived coolness toward Israel.