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Many Jewish GOP Donors Still on Sidelines

Will Romney’s decisive victory in Florida smoke them out?

Allison Hoffman
February 01, 2012

Forget Florida. Yesterday’s biggest presidential campaign sweepstakes was in Washington, where the Federal Election Commission released the latest fundraising figures—at this point in the race, a far more crucial measure of who’s up and who’s down than who won the Villages.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Mitt Romney pulled $24 million in straight campaign contributions, which was more than the other three remaining candidates combined. That included contributions in late December from important Jewish Republican donors who, as I reported last week, had stayed on the fence throughout the pre-season. Among Romney’s new supporters are hedge fund manager Paul Isaac, one of the 30 biggest individual donors to the Republican Party; Cheryl Halpern, a former backer of Gov. Rick Perry; and Hudson Institute board member Nina Rosenwald. Romney also got a big boost from Paul Singer, a hedge-fund manager and one of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s biggest cheerleaders, who gave the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future $1 million in December.

But Romney hasn’t managed to convince everyone. George Klein, a longtime party stalwart, gave Romney money in November, and then switched to Gingrich’s side at the height of the former Speaker’s December wave. Earle Mack, a real-estate developer who sits on the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board, gave $10,000 to the pro-Gingrich Super PAC Winning Our Future—though that was of course small beans compared to the reported $10 million contributed in January by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam. In December, Miriam Adelson’s daughters gave Restore Our Future $1 million—nearly half of the $2.1 million total raised through the fourth quarter.

And still some major players remain on the sidelines. Duty Free Americas COO Simon Falic and his family were among Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s biggest financial supporters for yesterday’s Likud primary (which Bibi won easily). Yet they have yet to pick a candidate after their early favorite, Perry, dropped out. Ronald Krancer, a GOP heavyweight based in Pennsylvania, has likewise not given any money aside from an early donation to his former senator, Rick Santorum. These are folks who, we feel sure, can expect some phone calls today.

Allison Hoffman is the executive editor of CNN Politics.

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