Most Republican bundlers still sitting on sidelines

Early cash flow favors Romney

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Mr. Busch, the beer mogul, did just that. He raised at least $200,000 for Mr. Bush in 2004, and for good measure gathered more than $50,000 for Mr. Kerry. In the 2008 election, he shepherded more than a quarter-million dollars for Mr. McCain.

Also during the 2008 presidential race, Florida shipping magnate Harry Sargeant III raised the better part of $1 million for Mr. McCain, but also actively collected funds for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Some Bush and McCain bundlers have given to Mr. Obama and his party since it occupied the White House. They have given at least $565,000 to Democrats this year in all.

DreamWorks Animation’s Roger Enrico, a former Pepsi CEO, bundled for both Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain, but this year he’s given more than $35,000 to Mr. Obama. Those donations are almost certainly credited toward his colleagues, Jeffrey Katzenberg or Andy Spahn, who together have gathered more than $1 million for Mr. Obama this year.

Financier Nick Brown of the GFI Group bundled more than $50,000 for Mr. McCain in 2008, but all his donations since have gone to Democrats, including $30,800 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Old guard recedes

Indeed, much of the machinery surrounding the Bush dynasty has faded, and while one candidate’s institutional credibility reaches back even further - to the 1994 Republican revolution - the number of party powerhouses that will activate for Mr. Gingrich appears limited, if potent.

Twelve Republican bundlers have given to Gingrich groups this year and, according to the records, included among them happens to be one of the largest political financiers in America, Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who has supported only Mr. Gingrich in the presidential race.

Mr. Adelson, who with his wife has contributed $10,000 to Mr. Gingrich, has given millions of dollars to groups connected to Mr. Gingrich since his time as House speaker, such as his now-defunct group American Solutions for Winning the Future.

Organized under old rules, it was prohibited from advocating for Mr. Gingrich directly and shut down as he departed to focus on his bid for the White House.

Bundlers’ lack of support for Romney rivals does not mean they all support the former Massachusetts governor. In fact, most have remained neutral so far, a significant force that remains untapped.

New Jersey lawyer Hersh Kozlov is a two-time Bush Pioneer and bundled for Mr. Romney during his unsuccessful 2008 bid for the nomination. But so far, he has not donated to any of the presidential candidates, records show.

Former entertainment executive A. Jerrold Perenchio bundled $100,000 for Mr. Bush and $500,000 for Mr. McCain while donors were subject to contribution limits. But he outdid all that with the stroke of his pen on April 22, writing a $2 million check to American Crossroads. The contributions indicate a loyalty to the Bush machine that has not translated to immediate support for one of the current candidates; like donations to the party, Crossroads donations seem to signal a wait-and-see attitude.

Robert B. Rowling, another Bush bundler, gave to both Mr. Romney and Mr. Pawlenty, but also sent $1 million to American Crossroads.

Establishment creatures that they are, the bundlers’ time likely will be best spent after the party conventions, when nominees are selected. At that point, the Republican National Committee and the winning campaign will effectively be merged, and bundlers can tap associates for much larger $33,300 checks.

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