Sheldon and Miriam Adelson each gave the maximum $2,700 to the presidential campaign of Ted Cruz, suggesting the power couple was leaning toward endorsing the Texas senator in the Republican race.
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The Adelsons’ donations, the maximum allowed for direct donations to a campaign, were reported in various media on Sunday after they were revealed in Federal Election Commission filings. The Adelsons, who are hugely influential in Republican politics and pro-Israel activism, did not respond to media inquiries for comment.
The donations to the Cruz campaign do not necessarily indicate that the couple have settled on a candidate. Last year they gave similar amounts to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has since abandoned his campaign.
In recent weeks, the couple have suggested they are split between Cruz, whose campaign has targeted the GOP establishment and who Miriam Adelson favors, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is emerging as an establishment favorite and who Sheldon Adelson admires.
The donations to Cruz on the eve of Monday’s Iowa caucuses, the first nomination contest taking place, could be seen as a sign that the Adelsons are leaning toward Cruz as the likelier candidate.
Both Rubio and Cruz are staunchly pro-Israel, which is the preeminent issue for the Adelsons. They are also in a fierce battle for second place behind Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner.
Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate, and Miriam, a physician, may still give much more to political action committees not directly related to campaigns. That’s how they helped prop up the Republican candidacy of Newt Gingrich in 2012, with infusions of millions of dollars to PACs that backed the former House of Representatives speaker from Georgia.
The donation to Graham, always a long shot, was seen more as gratitude to a senator who has been a leader on pro-Israel causes; the Adelsons made clear at the time that they had yet to endorse.