DeSantis Fundraising: Where Has Sheldon Adelson Gone?

by | Mar 1, 2018

Congressman Ron DeSantis has hung his gubernatorial campaign fundraising hat on President Donald Trump, conservative radio and television star Sean Hannity, and the billionaire couple Sheldon and MiriamAdelson. Not a bad triumvirate if one wants to run in a Republican primary, as long as all three do their part. In a recent fundraising invite, DeSantis touted all three by name.

Adelson’s role is as a member of his fundraising team. And so far in February, his “Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC” has raised over $1.2 million. That’s a sizeable haul that might put a dent in Adam Putnam’s massive fundraising lead, but as we’ve explained previously, it may be a case of too little, too late

And so far, neither Sheldon nor Miriam Adelson have cut a check to “Friends of Ron DeSantis.”

Why not?

Some suggest that while DeSantis’ pro-Israel advocacy earned him respect from the Adelsons, the billionaire couple may not care much for his stance on the legalization of marijuana. 

The Adelsons lost a son in 2005 to a drug overdose, and another son has allegedly struggled with an on-again, off again battle with substance abuse over the years. The Adelson family, led by Sheldon and Miriam, have made it their mission to stop the legalization of marijuana, which they clearly view as a gateway drug. So much so, that since 2014, the Adelson’s funded the fight against medical marijuana here in Florida.

Now take a deep dive into DeSantis’s votes on marijuana legalization and enforcement. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) — an aggressive, pro-marijuana group – have him listed on their site with a “B” rating, putting him on equal footing with most Florida Democrats, including his gubernatorial opponent, Democrat Gwen Graham, and the ultra-liberal Alan Grayson. Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio and former Congressman John Mica both garnered “F” ratings from NORML.

Several votes underpin DeSantis’ “B” rating, several of which are in direct conflict with the stance taken by the Trump Administration. One vote, cast in support of an amendment that cut $35 million from the DEA, came after the amendment’s author, Rep. Jared Polic (D-CO), claimed the DEA was “intimidating legal marijuana businesses in states like mine, and wasting money on marijuana infractions that are legal in states where they occur.”

DeSantis also supports the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which bars Trump’s Justice Department from using agency funds to interfere with the implementation of state-passed marijuana laws like the law opposed by the Adelson family here in Florida.

Expectations for DeSantis have been set high, and many are watching to see if the Adelson family will invest enough cash to make DeSantis competitive with Putnam. With only six months to go, DeSantis has to find ways to cut deeply into Putnam’s massive cash-on-hand advantage. At last count, Putnam had over $17 million in both his PAC and campaign accounts. DeSantis should have close to $6 million on hand by the time February reporting is due.


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