Sheldon Adelson is hedging his bets in this presidential race

Politico reports: Few of the Adelsons’ associates wanted to be quoted talking about the famously temperamental self-made billionaire, who is known for valuing loyalty and holding grudges. But, with Tuesday’s GOP presidential caucuses in his backyard looming, several expressed concern that Adelson’s hesitance could have long-lasting consequences. Time is running short, they say, for major donors to fund an assault to try to slow the momentum of GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

While Adelson, whose political involvement is largely animated by his support for Israel’s defense, is thought to distrust Trump on the issue, an Adelson adviser suggested his boss had no plans to spend big on behalf of — or against — any candidate in the tumultuous GOP primary.

“I don’t see any involvement until there is a nominee,” the adviser told POLITICO.

If Adelson sticks with that plan — a big “if” given his reputation for writing massive checks with little warning — it could remove a major source of anti-Trump cash and also could hamper Republicans’ general election chances up and down the ballot.

The prospect is a serious source of concern for other Republican megadonors and operatives, who have offered a range of explanations for Adelson’s sudden tightening of his purse strings.

“Nobody knows exactly why he’s still on the sidelines or when he might come off,” said one operative with ties to Adelson, “but the party needs him to get in the game before it’s too late.” [Continue reading…]

In the past, Adelson’s concern has been to back the candidate who he thinks would best serve his interests. His greater interest right now might not be to support the stop-Trump campaign but instead to avoid making Trump his enemy. Both Trump and Adelson operate in a world where loyalty gets rewarded and enemies get punished.

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