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Sheldon Adelson plans VIP dinner for Jeb Bush at GOP gathering in Vegas

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson (2012 photo by Jason Reed/Reuters) Sheldon and Miriam Adelson will host a dinner as part of the Republican Jewish Coalition event. (2012 photo by Jason Reed/Reuters)

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.

Adelson sits on the RJC’s board along with a number of other prominent Republican fundraisers and operatives, including private equity executive Lewis Eisenberg, former party chairman Ken Mehlman, lobbyist Wayne Berman and former ambassador Sam Fox.

At next week’s gathering, former vice president Dick Cheney will address the gala dinner on Saturday evening, where he will be introduced by Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.). Cheney will also participate in a private discussion and photo opportunity session that afternoon with RJC’s leaders, as will Walker and Kasich.

A number of member of Congress and other Republican leaders also are scheduled to speak. Rep. Sean Duffy (Wis.), a rising star in the Republican Party, will host a “late night dessert reception” for young leaders after the Cheney dinner.

Rep. Cory Gardner, another GOP star, who recently announced he would challenge Sen. Mark Udall (D) in Colorado this year, will moderate a breakfast session on Sunday titled, “Debating the Lessons of 2012 and the Current Path Forward for the GOP.” And Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, will lead a strategy workshop on “Talking the Talk – How to Sell our Ideas to Impact and Influence Others.”


Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.



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