Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson finally opened his checkbook and began to sign checks to Republicans.
The good news for Donald Trump? One of them has his name on it. The bad news? It’s for only $5 million.
As first reported by CNN, Sheldon Adelson has recently made a sizable campaign donation, reaching $45 million and directed mainly at the GOP’s effort to keep control of Congress.
According to the report, the Las Vegas Jewish casino mogul has given $20 million to the Senate Leadership Fund and another $20 million to the Congressional Leadership. Both Super PACs are aimed at supporting incumbent Republicans locked in tight races. Democrats have made winning over the Senate a top priority and are also hoping to make gains in the House, all based on the assumption that a Trump presidential candidacy will keep many Republican voters home on election day.
While the $5 million donation to a pro-Trump Super PAC would make Adelson the largest single donor to the Republican candidate’s presidential campaign, it is sure to be received in Trump Tower with mixed feelings.
Adelson, who in the 2012 election cycle established himself as the Republican Party’s leading donor, had initially promised, according to press reports, $100 million in support of Trump. But even after meeting several times with Trump and stressing his interest in supporting a candidate who shares his views on Israel, Adelson was slow to live up to his promise.
In 2012, according to available federal filings, Adelson gave most of his donations, which topped $100 million, to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Together with his wife Miriam, Adelson spent $20 million on primary candidate Newt Gingrich, but then moved on to back Romney, with more than $50 million given to Super PACs supporting the Republican candidate. Congressional races got only $10 million from Adelson in 2012.
The megadonor’s decision to focus now on down-ballot races reflects a trend among Jewish Republican donors, many of whom feel uncomfortable with Trump’s candidacy. These donors have chosen to give primarily, or in some cases exclusively, to supporting the GOP’s effort to maintain control of both chambers of Congress. Early on in the race, Adelson reached out to fellow Jewish donors asking them to back Trump, but his plea was largely ignored.
Still, Adelson’s $5 million donation to the pro-Trump Super PAC is a much needed boost to the candidate’s presidential campaign entering its final phase, in which campaigners burn through cash quickly trying to reach voters in swing states.
Nathan Guttman staff writer, is the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Ha’aretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Contact Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @nathanguttman