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Tags: Establishment Candidate | donors | Jeb Bush | Mitt Romney | Chris Christie

GOP Donors Seek Establishment Candidate Who Can Beat Hillary

By    |   Monday, 08 December 2014 01:30 PM EST

Dozens of the Republican Party's top donors and fundraisers have been discussing ways to narrow the wide field of possible 2016 presidential candidates to just one establishment figure capable of beating presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, The New York Times reported.

The talks are focused on three potential candidates believed to have the capability of raising the roughly $80 million likely needed to secure the party's nomination: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

"If you are philosophically a center-right donor, I think you have an interest in clearing the field," Bobbie Kilberg, a top Republican fundraiser, told the Times. He has ties both to Romney and the Bush family.

"I think that's important because there is clearly going to be a competition of philosophies for who is going to be the presidential nominee. And I firmly believe that person has to be from the center-right."

The party's top donors, however, are concerned that all three candidates would be competing for the same dollars, potentially undermining the ability to find a frontrunner and the chances of securing one of them as the eventual nominee, the Times reported.

Christie and Bush have already been lobbying top bundlers for commitments, several donors told the Times, which appears to have intensified the conversations about whether to collectively back one candidate.

The alternative being discussed is to wait to make any commitments until after the early Republican debates next summer, according to the Times.

"What the donors are looking at is, how do we find someone we are confident can win and not get involved in 2015 with people just throwing money around," Ray Washburne, finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, told the Times.

Donors, however, are also keenly aware that the timing of their commitment to a candidate can determine their own personal influence throughout a campaign; those who refuse to commit when first asked often find themselves in the lower ranks of a campaign even if they eventually become donors.

"When you get that call" to commit to Bush or Christie, a prominent Republican fundraiser told the Times, "the answer to that question is yes."

The fundraiser added, "Anything else and you're on the B team. You're on the second list. People that like to do this want to be on the A team."

Despite attempts to coronate one establishment choice, there is an acknowledgment among donors that it seems inevitable that the primary will involve more than one establishment candidate along with several Tea Party contenders, the Times said.

The overriding priority, however, is finding a nominee who can prevail, which is causing some donors to hang back to see how the field shakes out before making a commitment to back a particular candidate. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson will likely be one of them.

"He's very focused on picking someone who can win," a Republican strategist familiar with Adelson's thinking, told the Times. "He wants to ensure whatever candidate he gets behind reflects that philosophy and can win the general election."

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Newsfront
Dozens of the Republican Party's top donors and fundraisers have been discussing ways to narrow the wide field of 2016 presidential candidates to just one establishment figure capable of beating Hillary Clinton, The New York Times reported.
Establishment Candidate, donors, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Chris Christie
511
2014-30-08
Monday, 08 December 2014 01:30 PM
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