Sheldon Adelson plots spending spree to help Trump

Casino magnate and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson is plotting a spending blitz to support President Donald Trump with just under 50 days to go until Election Day, CNBC has learned. 

Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands, is looking to spend around $20 million to $50 million in a last-ditch effort to help Trump overcome Joe Biden, according to people familiar with the matter.

Most of the money is expected to go toward the new pro-Trump super PAC, Preserve America, these people added. Other organizations, including the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and groups helping Republicans in Congress, could also see some of Adelson’s money. 

One of the people noted that Adelson’s team has recently been in touch with GOP officials close to Trump about where best to deploy the cash. Another person noted that Adelson was a major donor who helped get Preserve America up and running. The people declined to be named as these efforts are private.  

A person with Preserve America said the group would not confirm any donor information with anybody but the Federal Election Commission.

Representatives for Adelson did not return repeated requests for comment. 

The development comes after Axios recently reported that Adelson’s top advisor, Andy Abboud, told a group of Republican donors that Adelson and his wife, Miriam, are planning to jump in to help Trump. 

“I just want to say that I just spoke to the Adelsons,” Abboud reportedly said last month. “They are 110% behind the president. And that’s going to become apparent shortly.” Adelson, according to The New York Times, previously had a tense phone call with Trump, who accused the casino executive of not doing enough to help him. 

Still, since their efforts to help Trump in 2016, the Adelsons have remained close to the president. Miriam Adelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom two years ago, and Trump named Sheldon Adelson, along with several other business leaders, to the coronavirus-related “Opening Our Country Council.” 

Trump may need more fundraising support from a big donor like Adelson than he lets on. His campaign was behind Biden’s in the overall amount they raised in August, with the former vice president and the Democratic National Committee bringing in $364.5 million last month. Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $210 million over the same period.

Democratic super PACs are combining to outspend many of the pro-Trump super PACs at the moment. Some Republican donors have been critical about the efforts being made by the pro-Trump PAC America First Action, which, as Politico reported, led to the creation of Preserve America and the expectation that Adelson would give to the PAC. 

Trump trails Biden by 6.6 points, according to a Real Clear Politics national polling average. 

The developments also come after Democratic billionaire Mike Bloomberg pledged to spend $100 million supporting Biden in swing state Florida. Bloomberg’s money will go toward a mix of television and digital ads targeting voters in that state, plus money earmarked for Democratic super PACs, and other Florida election efforts already underway, an aide told CNBC. 

Bloomberg has a net worth of just over $54 billion and Adelson has a net worth of $33 billion, according to Forbes. 

Trump’s Preserve America is in the midst of a $30 million ad blitz that, in part, is also targeting Florida voters. 

Adelson’s potential spending spree could end up surpassing the amount he put up during the 2016 presidential election. Data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows that he and his wife combined to contribute over $82 million to mostly Republican causes that cycle. They were ranked second that cycle behind Democratic donor Tom Steyer and his wife, Kathryn, who gave $91 million to Democrats. 

The Adelsons have given just over $27 million this cycle, CRP data shows.

They were the top donors during the 2018 congressional midterms, giving over $120 million, as the GOP lost its majority in the House and expanded its edge in the Senate. 

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