These 8 Republican Sugar Daddies Are Already Placing Their Bets on 2016

It’s not just the Koch brothers.

The 2016 election is more than a year and a half away, but conservative megadonors are already picking their favorite candidates:

Megadonor 2016 pick Meeting of the minds
Norman Braman
Billionaire car dealer and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles

Marco Rubio

Rubio is “the candidate of today and tomorrow,” Braman tells Mother Jones. “Read his book and you’ll see.”
Robert Mercer
Hedge Fund magnate and the owner of a $2 million model train set

Ted Cruz

Mercer’s firm has been accused of dodging $6 billion in taxes; Cruz has mused about abolishing the IRS.
Foster Friess
Crocodile hunting mutual fund financier

Rick Santorum

Friess, who joked about aspirin’s contraceptive powers while backing Santorum in 2012, told the Washington Post, “I am clearly in the Santorum camp.”
Larry Ellison
Founder of Oracle and owner of a private Hawaiian island


Ellison is holding a big-ticket fundraiser for the candidate at his $200 million Japanese-style Silicon Valley estate.*
Ken Langone
Home Depot cofounder who once said, “I’m nuts, I’m rich, and boy, do I love a fight!”

Chris Christie

Langone, who initially supported Christie in 2012, has offered to build a bridge between his donor network and the New Jersey governor.
Sheldon Adelson
Casino tycoon who dropped more than $93 million to defeat Obama in 2012


Adelson has received visits from Rubio, but is staying coy. His spokesman told Politico, “He’s going to keep his powder dry until he needs to weigh in.”
Charles and David Koch Billionaire bros who have vowed to spend $900 million in 2016

Scott Walker…maybe

David Koch reportedly likes Walker’s chances, but the brothers plan to hold “auditions” for GOP candidates this summer.

Correction: This story originally reported that Ellison had held a fundraiser for Rand Paul and may back him. Politico reports that Paul only attended the event and Ellison has committed to Rubio.

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money


as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.


as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.