US election: A bad night for Adelson

Major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson saw almost all of his investments falter.

November 8, 2012 02:49
2 minute read.
Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson 370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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NEW YORK – Major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson saw almost all of his investments falter Tuesday night, after most of the candidates he supported lost their election races.

The casino mogul, who is also the owner of Israel Hayom and is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion, allegedly spent close to $100 million – along with his wife – to elect congressmen, senators and a president this year, a new record in political donations.

Close to $60m. of that went to Super PACs, which are required by law to release their donor information.

It is estimated that the Adelsons gave another $30m. to $40m. to tax-exempt organizations, which don’t have to publish donor information.

Adelson gave $1.5m. last month to a SuperPAC supporting George Allen, the Republican Senate candidate from Virginia. Allen lost the race to Democrat Tim Kaine, 52.4% to 47.6%.

Incumbent Florida Rep. Allen West – who got a $1.5m. boost from Adelson – narrowly lost his reelection bid to newcomer Democrat Patrick Murphy 49.6% to 50.4%.

Adelson also poured $1m. into a bid seen as largely unwinnable – that of Orthodox Rabbi Shmuley Boteach challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell in New Jersey. Pascrell beat Boteach 74% to 25%.

In Florida, Adelson’s $1m. donation supporting Connie Mack back in July didn’t help her beat two-term Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, who won 54% to 42%. Also in Florida, Adelson- supported congressional candidate Adam Hasner lost 45% to 55% to Democrat Lois Frankel.

Adelson did, however, pick a winner in Republican incumbent Senator Dean Heller, who held on to his seat narrowly after beating Democratic challenger Shelly Berkley – who once worked as an attorney for Adelson’s casino company – 46% to 45%. Heller received more than $4m. from SuperPAC Crossroads GPS, to which Adelson reportedly gave at least $35m.

But the biggest loss of the night for Adelson was that of Mitt Romney, after he and his wife, Miriam, donated at least $20m. to SuperPACs supporting the Republican challenger.

Romney, of course, lost the popular vote to US President Barack Obama 48% to 50%.

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The 79-year-old also gave millions to various non-candidate specific Republican groups.

Adelson also poured money into the primary bid of former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination earlier this year. Gingrich dropped out of the race in May and endorsed Romney, after receiving more than $15m. in support from the Adelsons.

SuperPACs – which stands for political action committees – are independent groups that can receive unlimited donations and run ads supporting any politician, but without coordinating directly with the candidate. This is the first presidential election in which they have played a role, due to a 2010 Supreme Court decision allowing their creation.

Adelson, a Jewish native of Massachusetts and a college dropout, is considered a strong ally of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and gives extensively to Jewish organizations such as Yad Vashem.

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