Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is preparing to spend $500 million to make sure President Donald Trump doesn’t win re-election.
That won’t sit well with Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, who was the top political donor on either side of the aisle during the 2018 midterms. However, to retain that title in 2020, the casino magnate will need to severely increase his contributions.
Politico spoke with Democratic operatives who said Bloomberg will either use the funds to fuel his own presidential campaign, or give the money to someone else running against Trump. The former mayor of New York City is expected to make his presidential decision in the coming weeks.
Adelson was the top Republican Party donor in 2016, giving $82.58 million. Tom Steyer was the top overall donor, contributing $91 million to Democrats.
During the 2018 midterms, Adelson was the top overall donor, and Republican causes received every dime of the $123.25 million he gave. Bloomberg was next at $95 million.
Bloomberg ranks No. 9 on Forbes’ list of billionaires, with a net worth of $56.4 billion. Adelson is No. 24 at $35.5 billion. Trump is No. 735 at $3.1 billion.
Since taking office, Trump has pleased Adelson by recognizing Jerusalem as “the true capital of Israel” and moving the US embassy there. The Department of Justice’s recent opinion reversal on the Wire Act’s interpretation – which threatens to prohibit online gambling, something Adelson wants – is also seen as an ode to the Las Vegas billionaire.
We’re 626 days out from the November 3, 2020 election (who’s counting?), and numerous challengers are submitting their names for consideration.
Trump wasn’t Adelson’s first pick in 2016. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was his preferred candidate. Then-candidate Trump tweeted, “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!”
As for who will win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, online political betting exchange PredictIt has US Senator Kamala Harris (California) the frontrunner at 22 cents a share. Should she win and run against the Republican candidate – presumably Trump – each share will be paid out at $1 each.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is next at 17 cents, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont) third at 16 cents. Bloomberg is a distant ninth at just five cents.
For Sale: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Fundraising dollars for the 2020 presidential election are beginning to pour in. And many in the gaming industry are backing Trump’s re-election.
America First Action, the primary super political action committee (Super PAC) leading the president’s 2020 campaign, has received multiple million-dollar donations from casino billionaires.
Adelson and his wife Miriam have given $10 million to the PAC, Station Casinos owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III each donated $1 million, and Steve Wynn wrote a check for $500,000. Longtime Trump pal and Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin gave the Republican National Committee $250,000.
While many Las Vegas executives support Trump, MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren was one gaming boss who felt Democrat Hillary Clinton was the better choice. Murren, a self-avowed Republican, said in a 2016 op-ed that Trump’s immigration policies and potential travel ban (which came to reality) would impede American tourism.