The 2016 presidential contenders have a lot on the line this weekend as they hope to sway several influential Jewish donors their way. Both Ted Cruz and Rick Perry, 2016 White House hopefuls, are heading to Las Vegas to pitch their case to Jewish donors.
Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson will be among the most coveted prizes at the Republican Jewish Coalition Spring Leadership Meeting. Cruz and Perry will be attempting to highlight their longstanding support for Israel while also showcasing their scepticism towards President Obama’s nuclear dealings with Iran.
Perry and Cruz will both have an opportunity to address potential donors during Saturday’s meeting and a successful pitch may just increase their appeals to prominent Jewish donors across the nation.
Alongside Gov. Perry, other Republicans with presidential aspirations will also be attending the event: South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as well as former NY Governor George Pataki. Despite their efforts, they too are at the bottom of most polls and it seems that Cruz’s presidential campaign (launched last month) is also not breaking through in recent polls.
The candidates will be addressing a crowd of more than 800 people who have already contributed with at least the minimum $1,000 required to attend the conference. Moreover, the candidate’s speeches comprise the only part of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s three-day confab, giving the White House hopefuls plenty of time and attention to strongly present their position.
The majority of Republican donors is deeply split. While some donor groups have already expressed their interest in Bush, Rubio, Cruz and Walker, consensus doesn’t seem very likely in the foreseeable future. It’s precisely here that Cruz hopes to shine as the most electable Republican candidate among a crowd of similar contenders making an identical pitch.
“I’ll commit to four of five of them financially because I love them all — and we’ll see who comes out on top,” California GOP donor, Ron Bloom said.
Mark McNulty, Republican Jewish Coalition spokesman, said that donors won’t only be looking for candidate’s intentions of stopping a Nuclear Iran, but also how their intend on winning the general election. Republicans are coming after two consecutive losses, so it’s essential that the candidate donors decide on backing can make a strong argument against Secretary Clinton.
It’s precisely that case that Cruz hopes to make: he insists that, among all candidates, he is by far the strongest ally of Israel. In their quest to find “somebody who has the best shot at defeating Hillary and also who’s going to be a strong advocate for Israel,” Cruz is the RJC’s best bet, Nick Muzin, Cruz’s senior adviser said.
Lee Zeldin, the only Rebublican serving in the 114th Congress, believes that progress must be done in the future so that Jewish representatives increase in numbers. Numbers don’t lie and it seems that when it comes to Jewish support, Republicans are at a disadvantage. In fact, it’s no secret that the Jewish population sways disproportionately Democratic.
But while in 2008, 78% of the Jewish population voted for the democratic nominee, in 2012, that enthusiast decreased to only 69%. Zeldin believes that such a pattern will continue as more and more Jews are now starting to vote for Republicans.
Adelson and his wife donated over $92 million in 2012 to presidential candidates and firm financial commitments is what Cruz and Perry are hoping to seal. In the past, Adelson counted himself as a Democrat. It was in 2012, however, that his views changed.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Adelson expressed his disappointment with the Democratic Party, stating that Republicans had come closer to the economic, charity and neighbourliness ideals of the Jewish population.
In his aggressive donor courting campaign, Cruz has already gained the support of Sam Domb, Holocaust survivor and philanthropist. But Trudy and Stanley Stern also stand by Cruz in his race towards office, so he may very well be on the right track for the RJC meeting.
After their back-to-back speeches at the RJC meeting, both Cruz and Perry will make their way to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Spring Kickoff in Des Moines.
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