DENVER — Congressman Cory Gardner will head to Las Vegas this Sunday to take part in a conference organized by billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
He’s scheduled to moderate a discussion Sunday morning about the path forward for the Republican Party that will feature former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum and New York Post columnist John Podhoretz.
But the real action will take place behind the scenes as participants at the meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition meet with Adelson, the staunchly pro-Israel mega-donor who is becoming one of the country’s most prominent political benefactors.
Adelson donated more than $100 million in 2012 to Super PACs backing Republicans Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, almost singlehandedly keeping Gingrich’s presidential campaign afloat through much of primary season.
Gardner, who just entered the U.S. Senate race last month, will have a hard time catching up to Democratic U.S. Mark Udall on the fundraising front, with Udall already closing in on the $5 million mark.
As a result, Gardner will need a lot of support from outside groups like Adelson’s.
The weekend of festivities, which begins Thursday, offers four days of opportunities for Republicans — four 2016 presidential hopefuls are attending — to cozy up to Adelson and a number of high-dollar donors.
But Gardner will miss out on most of that, planning to head to Vegas only for the Sunday session after attending county assemblies in Colorado Saturday.
It’s unclear whether or not Gardner will get any face time with Adelson himself; no official meetings are scheduled.
“Cory looks forward to moderating what he hopes is a productive and thoughtful discussion about what the GOP learned from the 2012 election,” said Alex Siciliano, Gardner’s campaign spokesman.