Why would they ever want to turn their backs on such an embarrassment of riches? And why would they want a candidate who wasn't thoroughly tested by the primary process? Sounds like a RINO conspiracy to keep Ted Cruz out of the White House!
Dozens of the Republican Party’s leading presidential donors and fund-raisers have begun privately discussing how to clear the field for a single establishment candidate to carry the party’s banner in 2016, fearing that a prolonged primary would bolster Hillary Rodham Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate.
The conversations, described in interviews with a variety of the Republican Party’s most sought-after donors, are centered on the three potential candidates who have the largest existing base of major contributors and overlapping ties to the top tier of those who are uncommitted: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Mitt Romney.
All three are believed to be capable of raising the roughly $80 million in candidate and “super PAC” money that many Republican strategists and donors now believe will be required to win their party’s nomination.
But the reality of all three candidates vying for support has dismayed the party’s top donors and “bundlers,” the volunteers who solicit checks from networks of friends and business associates. They fear being split into competing camps and raising hundreds of millions of dollars for a bloody primary that will injure the party’s eventual nominee — or pave the way for a second-tier candidate without enough mainstream appeal to win the general election.
“If you are philosophically a center-right donor, I think you have an interest in clearing the field,” said Bobbie Kilberg, a top Republican fund-raiser in Virginia with ties to Mr. Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee, and the Bush family. “I think that’s important because there is clearly going to be a competition of philosophies for who is going to be the presidential nominee. And I firmly believe that person has to be from the center-right.”
But talk of an establishment coronation is likely to incur the wrath of party activists and outside groups seeking a more conservative nominee.↓ Story continues below ↓
For the first time in decades, the Republican Party is facing a wide-open primary with up to a dozen serious candidates representing virtually every branch of the party. Republican leaders, hoping to minimize damage to their eventual standard-bearer, have already sought to compress the formal primary season and reduce the number of candidate debates.