Politics

By Philip Rucker
March 22 at 3:48 pm

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush will get top billing when he and other potential 2016 presidential candidates join billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson for an exclusive Republican gathering next week in Las Vegas.

Bush, who is quietly exploring a run for the White House, will be the featured speaker at an exclusive VIP dinner on Thursday hosted by Adelson and his wife, Miriam, at his company’s private airplane hangar at Las Vegas Macarran International Airport, according to a draft itinerary obtained by The Washington Post. The Adelsons’ dinner for Bush will kick off the Republican Jewish Coalition’s four-day spring leadership meeting, during which politicians and major GOP donors will mingle at golf and poker tournaments, as well as in political strategy sessions.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former U.N. ambassador John Bolton will address the group during its meeting on Saturday morning, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich is to speak at a luncheon that day. The gathering is being held at the Venetian Resort and Hotel, a glamorous property built by Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino and hospitality company that Adelson runs.

For potential presidential candidates, getting to know Adelson is critical. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Adelson established himself as perhaps the most influential Republican fundraiser by spending tens of millions of dollars to fund super PACs. He first supported former House speaker Newt Gingrich, but later backed the eventual nominee, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and even traveled to Israel with Romney ahead of the Republican National Convention.

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