Adelson Primary Update

It’s almost as though he had to make some waves because the Kochs were getting so much attention for their possible big-footing into the 2016 Republican presidential nominating process. Or maybe it’s just that he’s presiding this very weekend over one of the apparently frequent meetings of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and that’s always a good occasion for kissing his ring. But whatever the circumstances, Alex Isenstadt has a Politico piece today updating us on the Sheldon Adelson Primary, and speculating there’s a new favorite in Vegas: Marco Rubio, who having a very good week (viz. his surge in Quinnipiac polling).

In recent weeks, Adelson, who spent $100 million on the 2012 campaign and could easily match that figure in 2016, has told friends that he views the Florida senator, whose hawkish defense views and unwavering support for Israel align with his own, as a fresh face who is “the future of the Republican Party.” He has also said that Rubio’s Cuban heritage and youth would give the party a strong opportunity to expand its brand and win the White House.

Seems Marco has also done what up-and-comers often do with old folks whose favor they wish to secure: spent some personal time on Adelson:

Since entering the Senate in 2011, Rubio has met privately with the mogul on a half-dozen occasions. In recent months, he‘s been calling Adelson about once every two weeks, providing him with meticulous updates on his nascent campaign. During a recent trip to New York City, Rubio took time out of his busy schedule to speak by phone with the megadonor.

And then there’s the “personal connection:”

Adelson, whose father emigrated from Lithuania and worked as a cab driver, has come to admire Rubio, the son of a bartender and a hotel maid, for his compelling life story. On March 2, the two had a private dinner at Charlie Palmer, a posh steakhouse at the foot of Capitol Hill. There, they talked for hours about their families and personal lives. “It lasted quite a while,” said one source close to Rubio.

Yeah, guess there’s no better place to celebrate upward mobility than that lobbyist’s temple, Charlie Palmer, though from what we know of Rubio’s shaky personal finances, he probably had to let Sheldon pick up the tab.

Isenstadt reports that Adelson won’t pick a beneficiary until after the second official GOP Candidate’s Debate, at the Reagan Library in September. Perhaps Rubio’s chief competitor is Scott Walker, whose anti-union record is probably worth almost as much in Adelson’s eyes as service in the IDF. If he can learn to growl at Tehran in a convincing enough manner, he could be stiff competition.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.