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George Soros Won't Be Obama's Sugar Daddy This Election Cycle

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Call them white knights, sugar daddies or just plain wealthy donors – whatever the term used, it’s clear that Republican presidential nominees in this primary competition have been more than dependent on donations from billionaires in this post-Citizens United world.
Mitt Romney, of course, leads the pack, having amassed $6.6 million in donations to his super PACs, with contributions coming from the likes of former Hewlett-Packard (HP) CEO Meg Whitman and Harold Simmons, chairman and CEO of NL industries (NL). Meanwhile, news broke yesterday that Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and later sold it to eBay (EBAY) for $1.5 billion, poured an eye-popping $1.7 million to Endorse Liberty, the super PAC backing Ron Paul, in January. Together with the $900,000 he donated in December, Theil has given thus far $2.6 million to the PAC.
Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich has casino mogul Sheldon Adelsonon his side. The CEO of Las Vegas Sands (LVS) has pumped $11 million into the former House Speaker’s super PAC, Winning Our Future, while Rick Santorum has the support of billionaire investor Foster S. Friess.
With the GOP set to harness the financial power of its billionaire backers all the way to the general election, Democrats are, unsurprisingly, scrambling to find their own sugar daddies, especially with the news that George Soros, who has been a reliable source of funding for the Democrats for 30 years, will likely be sitting out of this year’s electoral battle.
According to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, Soros, the billionaire chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, is facing a philosophical quandary:

He is deeply worried about the growing role of secret money in American politics—and while he supports Obama, and doesn’t want to discourage others from giving, he doesn’t want to participate in or exacerbate a troubled election process.

Mayer also posits several personal reasons why Soros has thus far been less than enthusiastic about donating to the Obama campaign – for one, he does not see much of a difference between the President and frontrunner Romney. Also, he might be a little insulted that after his strong support in 2008, he has not been granted one-on-one access to the President in the White House.
Considering that he gave over $23 million in 2004 (a record then) to John Kerry’s campaign and $5 million to Obama in 2008, Soro’s decision this time around to be stingy with his money is a big blow to the Democrats and Obama’s reelection campaign.
The silver lining for the President? Thus far, 53% of his campaign’s donations have been under $200, versus only 11% for Romney’s, which perhaps speaks to a strong base of small donors on the ground who will be willing to do the gritty door-to-door campaigning necessary come this fall.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.