Billionaire Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson may sit out a few early nominating states to see how fellow billionaire Donald Trump fares once votes are cast. Adelson, who was the top contributor to political campaigns during the 2012 presidential election, has been courted heavily by many of Trump’s opponents but has resisted an official endorsement so far.
“The Adelson family has not made up its mind as to anybody we are going to support,” Adelson said during a press conference in China, where his company recently opened a hotel, according to Bloomberg. “We may just wait until a number of the primaries [are] already established and [see] who’s garnering the largest number of delegates.”
Adelson said that he was impressed with Trump’s staying power at the top of the GOP field and that he has only increased his standing with Republican voters over the past several months. A recent survey by Monmouth University showed Trump miles ahead of his nearest competitor, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Trump captured 41 percent of the GOP-leaning vote. Cruz took 14 percent.
“That’s incredible,” Adelson said. “So we don’t know. It’s unprecedented, unpredictable.”
Trump and Adelson reportedly met just hours before Tuesday’s GOP debate, which was hosted inside Adelson’s Las Vegas hotel, the Venetian. The visit was described as a courtesy visit by Trump, who has made a point of criticizing the large amounts of money spent on politics. Trump is self-funding his campaign with millions of his own dollars. He’s also been the beneficiary of quite a bit of free media coverage for his outlandish positions on several issues.
Who Adelson will ultimately endorse has been widely speculated. In October, Politico reported that sources close to him were expecting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to claim the gold mine.
Adelson donated $92.8 million to political campaigns and organizations in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. All of those donations were given to conservatives.