Politics

Democratic megadonor Haim Saban will not back a 2020 presidential candidate until after Super Tuesday

Key Points
  • Democratic financier Haim Saban will not support a candidate for president until after Super Tuesday. 
  • The declaration means none of the presidential candidates will see assistance from Saban for at least another two months.
Haim Saban, chairman and chief executive officer of Saban Capital Group, arrives ahead of the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Tuesday, July 9, 2019.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

One of the wealthiest Democratic megadonors has decided to remain uncommitted to any of the presidential candidates until after the pivotal primaries of Super Tuesday.

Haim Saban, the media mogul who helped power Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016, will wait until after Super Tuesday has concluded to decide how he will be involved in the race for president, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be named as this decision was made in private. The delegate-rich day is scheduled for March 3, with contests in 14 states, including his home state of California.

Saban in the meantime will continue backing Democrats running for Congress, these people added.

The declaration means none of the presidential candidates will see assistance from Saban for at least another two months, leaving an influential donor on the sidelines at a time when the contenders need financial resources to compete in often expensive states. Democrats running for president combined to raise well over $100 million in the fourth quarter.

A spokeswoman for Saban did not return a request for comment.

Saban's sidelining differs from what some other Hollywood executives are planning. Film producer Jeffrey Katzenbeg, for instance, has contributed to a variety of candidates and is listed as one of former Vice President Joe Biden's personal fundraisers, also known as bundlers.

Super Tuesday accounts for about 40% of the total delegate allocation, which means whoever picks up the most victories that day will likely be the front-runner to capture the Democratic nomination. Many of the candidates, including Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and former mayors Pete Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg, have opened offices in various Super Tuesday states. Biden is the current primary leader with 29% of the vote, according to a Real Clear Politics polling average.

Bloomberg has spent millions of dollars on TV ads in those regions such as Texas, California, Alabama and Massachusetts. Bloomberg has a net worth of $56 billion and has decided to self-fund his entire campaign.

Saban, an Israeli-American who has a net worth of $2.8 billion and is behind the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" and other popular entertainment franchises, has been quiet about committing to one candidate. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said he's a fan of all the candidates except one.

"We love all 23 candidates," he told the publication in July. "No, minus one. I profoundly dislike Bernie Sanders, and you can write it. I don't give a hoot. He's a communist under the cover of being a socialist. He thinks that every billionaire is a crook. He calls us 'the billionaire class.' And he attacks us indiscriminately. 'It's the billionaire class, the bad guys.' This is how communists think. So, 22 are great. One is a disaster zone."

Although he hasn't contributed to candidates for the top of the ballots yet, he has been consistently supported House and Senate Democrats.

In the 2016 race, he and wife gave just over $12 million to the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The Saban family foundation has given at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the group's website says.

While the megadonor has not decided whom to support, he has previously sent checks to some of the current crop of contenders when they were running in other elections, including two $2,700 checks to Warren's Senate reelection campaign in 2018.

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