Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is one of the most important donors in the Republican party. He more-or-less singlehandedly kept Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential hopes alive for months. So it is a big deal that Adelson reportedly dismissed Sen. Ted Cruz, thought to be a top contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, as “too right wing” and “a longshot.”
That’s based on a report by the New York Observer‘s Ken Kurson, who quotes what he calls “one source close to Adelson.” Adelson allegedly said this after speaking to Cruz spoke at a recent Zionist Organization for America dinner. The day after the dinner, Adelson and Cruz met again for two hours at a hotel. Afterwards, Adelson concluded that Cruz is too conservative to be a likely GOP primary winner, according to the New York Observer’s anonymous source.
Israel is Adelson’s top issue (aside from banning the online gambling sites that threaten his casino empire), so this meeting was a big chance for Cruz to impress him.
The implication of this quote appears to be that Adelson doesn’t himself object to Cruz’s politics, but merely thinks they make him unelectable even in today’s Republican Party. Indeed, the conservative Texas Senator has managed to alienate a massive chunk of the Republican establishment, party elites whose support is critical in the all-important “invisible primary.”
Adelson’s view of the Republican presidential field matter. His 2012 donations made him the “single biggest donor in political history,” according to the New York Times. Adelson’s support could make or break a bid for the GOP nomination. If Cruz has lost him, that’s a major blow.
Update: Adelson got in touch with the Observer after the report went out. According to Kurson, “Mr. Adelson called the Observer after publication of this story to dispute that characterization of his reaction to Mr. Cruz. Mr. Adelson made clear to the Observer that he was the only person in the room with Mr. Cruz and thus the only one in a position to know how he felt about the Senator.”