Potential candidates have been eagerly seeking meetings with Adelson, 76, born in Israel, whose net worth, according to Forbes, is more than $26 billion. The list of potential candidates who spoke with Adelson includes Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Florida Senator Rick Scott and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. .
Adelson’s team was bombarded with requests from Republican politicians seeking time with her, and some made pilgrimages to her home in Las Vegas. The attention reflects her outsized influence: Over the past decade, she and her late husband have spent more than half a billion dollars on GOP causes.
Adelson’s lieutenants say his decision is motivated by a desire to stay out of what could be a bitter fight for the nomination. After supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 2012, Adelson and her late husband sat out the 2016 primary. They went on to become major contributors to Trump, spending more than $100 million to support his campaigns .
Other major Republican contributors will face their own decisions on whether to enter the 2024 primary – with the prospect of a Trump comeback complicating the race. While some of the biggest donors sided with Trump during his presidency, others aligned with the more established wing of the GOP remained cool to him.
One of the party’s biggest donors has hinted at who he might support. Tech billionaire Larry Ellison has contributed $20 million to a super PAC aligned with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a potential candidate who has criss-crossed the country ahead of this year’s midterm elections.
Many candidates have made aggressive efforts to woo contributors, including Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Pence, who have both recently hosted retreats attended by donors.
Adelson, a physician and majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, began meeting with potential candidates last fall after observing a period of mourning following the death of her husband in January 2021. Although she has made it clear that she had no interest in getting into the 2024 race, she played an active role in this year’s midterm elections, so far donating $10 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, House GOP’s main super PAC.
On a trip to Washington earlier this year, she met separately with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, where she was briefed on the 2022 campaign. , according to a person familiar with the discussion.