The nation’s top 100 political donors reflect that: Twenty-four of them have invested early money in any GOP presidential candidates, according to the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis.
Of them, 10 have financially supported more than one.
Robert McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans, has even donated to three: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida.
Meanwhile, about two dozen of the 100 have already donated to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
They include Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, philanthropist Alida Rockefeller Messinger, Texas trial lawyer Amber Mostyn and entertainment mogul Haim Saban.
One — David desJardins, a software engineer who was an early Google employee — has donated to Democrat Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor running against Clinton.
So many choices
Donors spreading wealth to multiple candidates offer varying reasons for their approach to Election 2016.
Take New York City venture capitalist Ken Abramowitz, a staunch Mitt Romney supporter in 2012 who’s already contributed to six Republican candidates this election cycle — Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
“I’m right now in the learning phase and I’m trying to learn about the candidates, learn about their thinking, their capabilities of being president,” he said.
Abramowitz said his contributions were all made so he could attend events with the candidates, as he tries to gauge where they fall on issues he cares about: growing the economy, and protecting both the country and “the culture of America.” He mentally grades them on those issues.
“Eventually, I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ll just guess, we’ll all find one or two candidates that we, so to speak, fall in love with,” Abramowitz said. “A very small minority of people will fall in love at this early stage.”
Diet company founder Jenny Craig of California has fattened the campaign accounts of Bush, Rubio and Cruz.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, donated to Graham as well as a fundraising committee benefiting Rubio’s U.S. Senate campaign, which Rubio converted into a presidential campaign.
Dallas investment banker-turned-alcohol distributor Sheldon Stein showered Bush, Cruz, Perry and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania with thousands of dollars.
And former World Wrestling Entertainment executive and also-ran U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon of Connecticut split donations between Bush and Fiorina. "She has not formally endorsed any one candidate at this time," said Kate Duffy, a McMahon spokeswoman.
Mica Mosbacher, a Texas fundraiser for Cruz, said in an e-mail that she knows contributors who have donated to multiple candidates and also has talked to some “fence sitters,” though she said Cruz often wins over donors when he talks to them in person.
“Others have said to me that they committed to someone else but Ted is their number two choice so his message is resonating,” she wrote. “And it’s still early.”
More than 50 donors crossed party lines when contributing to multiple presidential candidates.
One, billionaire grocery mogul and would-be New York Daily News owner John Catsimatidis — a self-described moderate — donated to Clinton on the left and Bush, Cruz and Graham on the right.
Nily Falic, a pro-Israel businesswoman from Florida whose family made its millions running duty-free stores, also straddled party lines, donating to Clinton, Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The Falics also helped bankroll the recent re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Kevin O’Connor, who oversees governmental and political affairs for the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the union has so far contributed to Bush, Clinton, O’Malley and former Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat. The union also plans to send a check to another Democrat in Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, he said.
“We’re just kind of, if you will, helping our friends out,” he said, citing the union’s positive relationships with all those candidates during their previous stints in office. “There are a number of people in the race that have earned our respect and, to some extent, our support financially, and that’s reflected in what we’re doing in these donations.”
The union will go through its endorsement process and make a decision on its formal endorsement sometime between August and October, he said.
Strictly on the Democratic side, Hollywood honcho David Geffen wrote checks to Clinton and Sanders.
Generating big money early
There are 480 days until Election Day 2016 rolls around, but it doesn’t feel that way on the presidential fundraising circuit.
Before campaign fundraising books closed on June 30, the candidates sent out dozens of desperate fundraising emails with subject lines like “Friend, this is it” and “Last Chance!”
Their goal: to post the highest possible fundraising number for the quarter, the first time most of them were required to file a campaign disclosure report.
The reports, which were due by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, show some clear winners and losers.