As Trump Surges, Adelson Says He Might Sit Out Some Primaries

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson acknowledged presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “incredible” support among the Republican base and said he might let some primaries pass before deciding whom to back.

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. chief executive officer told a press conference in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau that his family had not yet picked a presidential candidate to support. Adelson, who says he spent $100 million getting Republicans elected in 2012, said he might see how the contenders fare after Iowa opens the primary season Feb. 1.

Sheldon Adelson

Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

“The Adelson family has not made up its mind as to anybody we are going to support,” said the 82-year-old, who was attending the opening of a St. Regis hotel by Sands China Ltd. “We may just wait until a number of the primaries already established and who’s garnering the largest number of delegates.”

Adelson was speaking just two days after meeting Trump at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas before the Republican debate, the Washington Post reported. Trump, a real estate tycoon, has criticized the influence of big donors like Adelson and mocked U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida for courting the casino tycoon’s money.

Trump’s support among Republican-leaning voters rose to an all-time high of 41 percent in a national Monmouth University survey released Monday. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was second with 14 percent, followed by Rubio with 10 percent. The poll of 385 Republicans had a margin of error for plus or minus 5 percentage points.

“That’s incredible,” Adelson said of Trump’s support. “So we don’t know. It’s unprecedented, unpredictable.”

“Any one of the 14 candidates is better than what we have today, better than what the opposition has by far,” said Adelson, who ranks 32nd on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a fortune estimated at $22 billion, in an interview. “So whoever becomes the nominee, I’m going to support.”

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