Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks at Exeter Town Hall on Jan. 20, 2016 in Exeter, New Hampshire. (Darren McCollester, Getty Images North America)
WASHINGTON — Four of America’s wealthiest businessmen laid the foundation for Ted Cruz’s now-surging Republican presidential campaign and have redefined the role of political donors.
With just over a week until voters get their first say, the 45-year-old Texas senator known as a conservative warrior has been ascendant. The $36 million committed last year by these donor families is now going toward television, radio and online advertisements, along with direct mailings and get-out-the-vote efforts in early primary states.
The donors’ super political action committees sponsored rallies Saturday in Iowa featuring Cruz and conservative personality Glenn Beck. The state holds the leadoff caucuses on Feb. 1.
The long-believing benefactors are New York hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, Texas natural gas billionaires Farris and Dan Wilks, and private-equity partner Toby Neugebauer. They honed their plan to help Cruz before he began his steady rise in polls — even before he announced his presidential bid in March. Mercer gave $11 million, Neugebauer gave $10 million, and the Wilks brothers and their wives together gave $15 million.