Commentary Magazine


Posts For: February 4, 2012

Adelson May be Ready to Bail on Gingrich

There are only two reasons why Newt Gingrich has been able to stay in the Republican presidential race, and they are both named Adelson. Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam donated $10 million to a pro-Gingrich super PAC just at the moment when it appeared when the former speaker was dead in the water last month. But according to the New York Times, Gingrich’s number one fans already have a “plan B” ready for the day he drops out of the race. The Times says Adelson has relayed to Romney assurances that “he will provide even more generous support to his candidacy if he becomes the Republican nominee.” While sources say Adelson will support Gingrich as long as he wants to stay in the race, he appears to be keenly aware that other pro-Israel Republicans have not rallied to Gingrich’s banner, and he knows Romney is the likely nominee.

This can’t be very reassuring for Gingrich as he prepares to try and survive a month when he is unlikely to win any caucuses or primaries. But it does show that Adelson’s priority is not so much helping his friend as it is beating President Obama this fall.

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There are only two reasons why Newt Gingrich has been able to stay in the Republican presidential race, and they are both named Adelson. Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam donated $10 million to a pro-Gingrich super PAC just at the moment when it appeared when the former speaker was dead in the water last month. But according to the New York Times, Gingrich’s number one fans already have a “plan B” ready for the day he drops out of the race. The Times says Adelson has relayed to Romney assurances that “he will provide even more generous support to his candidacy if he becomes the Republican nominee.” While sources say Adelson will support Gingrich as long as he wants to stay in the race, he appears to be keenly aware that other pro-Israel Republicans have not rallied to Gingrich’s banner, and he knows Romney is the likely nominee.

This can’t be very reassuring for Gingrich as he prepares to try and survive a month when he is unlikely to win any caucuses or primaries. But it does show that Adelson’s priority is not so much helping his friend as it is beating President Obama this fall.

The Times described a very careful campaign of outreach from the Romney campaign to Adelson including a phone call from the candidate two weeks ago. There has been no criticism of Adelson from Romney or his Jewish supporters even though many were upset at his financing of harsh attacks on the former Massachusetts governor that seemed to use a left-wing frame of reference.

Given that Adelson’s number one priority is ensuring U.S. support for the State of Israel, he can’t have much interest in a Gingrich sore loser scenario campaign in the coming weeks that would only help President Obama’s chances of re-election. So while Gingrich has been talking a brave game the last week vowing to take the fight against Romney all the way to the Republican convention, that’s not something that may interest his number one backer.

Though today’s Nevada landslide for Romney may not impress pundits who assumed all along he would win there, Adelson may draw some harsh conclusions about his candidate’s wipeout loss there tonight. While Adelson may not publicly ditch Gingrich, the former speaker may have seen his last $5 million check from the wealthy couple. If so, Gingrich’s ability to stay in the race may be severely compromised.

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Even Evangelicals Back Romney in Nevada

The entrance polls for today’s Nevada caucus appear to show what everyone anticipated: a landslide for Mitt Romney. He won almost every conceivable demographic group including those that are not considered his strengths. Conservatives, Tea Partiers and evangelicals — groups where his support is generally weak — all gave Romney huge pluralities if not outright majorities in Nevada. Part of the reason for this is the large Mormon vote in Nevada. Mormons are only about seven percent of the population there, but entrance polls showed them making up 26 percent of today’s Republican electorate. With 91 percent of Mormons backing their co-religionist Romney, that inflated his support among right-wingers who might trend more toward Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum in other states.

Yet while Mormon support can account for the increased number of avowed conservatives and Tea Partiers who said they were for Romney, that doesn’t account for his getting a whopping 48 percent of evangelical voters in Nevada, with Gingrich receiving only 27 percent and Santorum a paltry 11 percent.

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The entrance polls for today’s Nevada caucus appear to show what everyone anticipated: a landslide for Mitt Romney. He won almost every conceivable demographic group including those that are not considered his strengths. Conservatives, Tea Partiers and evangelicals — groups where his support is generally weak — all gave Romney huge pluralities if not outright majorities in Nevada. Part of the reason for this is the large Mormon vote in Nevada. Mormons are only about seven percent of the population there, but entrance polls showed them making up 26 percent of today’s Republican electorate. With 91 percent of Mormons backing their co-religionist Romney, that inflated his support among right-wingers who might trend more toward Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum in other states.

Yet while Mormon support can account for the increased number of avowed conservatives and Tea Partiers who said they were for Romney, that doesn’t account for his getting a whopping 48 percent of evangelical voters in Nevada, with Gingrich receiving only 27 percent and Santorum a paltry 11 percent.

While the challengers appear to have conceded Nevada in advance and spent little time or money there, Romney’s strength across the board is encouraging for him. For Gingrich, the only real concern in Nevada is avoiding falling behind Ron Paul in the battle for second place. While the former speaker has low expectations for all of the February primaries and caucuses, a third place finish will make his task of convincing Republicans that he is a viable alternative to Romney much more difficult.

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