The record-setting $540 Mega Millions jackpot has sold 400 million tickets for tonight's drawing, reaching a fever pitch. People are lining up for hours and shelling out for office pools in the hopes of quitting their jobs and having the kind of wealth most Americans will only ever dream about.
The lottery drawing tonight might make someone very rich and - for the first time ever for a lottery - richer than Mitt Romney.
Sure, a few jackpot totals have been greater than Romney's estimated worth of $250 million, but after various taxes, no cash payout has ever topped his wealth. Tonight's cash option of an estimated $398.8 million would place some lucky person far above the Romneys on the list of Very Rich Americans.
The closest a lottery winner has ever come was a March 2007 jackpot of $390 million but paid out at only $233 million, and was split between two winning tickets in New Jersey and Georgia.
There's lots of advice being given today on what to do with all that money if you win, but Mitt Romney might have a few good recommendations:
- Install a car elevator for your beach house and hire a personal lobbyist to help push plans through for approval;
- Befriend NASCAR and NFL team owners;
- Own a couple of Cadillacs.
And then there's the sage advice from wife Ann, which is to not even consider yourself wealthy.
Of course, Romney is not the only wealthy candidate. All are estimated to be multimillionaires. After Romney, President Obama is worth an estimated $11.8 million, followed by Newt Gingrich ($6.7 million), Ron Paul ($5.2 million) and Rick Santorum ($2 million).