Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

Currently: 45° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Presidential Race 2012:

Sheldon Adelson: How will his support help or hinder Newt Gingrich in Nevada?

Click to enlarge photo

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks to Sheldon Adelson after addressing a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, April 2, 2011.

Sheldon Adelson’s vast wealth has been a life raft for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid.

The Las Vegas casino mogul and his wife have contributed $10 million to the political action committee supporting Gingrich, sustaining his campaign long enough for him to ride momentum from his resounding victory in South Carolina into Florida.

As the campaign heads to Nevada later this week, Adelson could be worth more than just money to his old friend.

“Adelson has an ability to actually work a ground game in Nevada, whereas in South Carolina and Florida it was really about funding the airwaves,” said one operative familiar with Adelson’s political activity. “He can do more than that here.”

The operative noted that thousands of Las Vegans work for Adelson’s company. Then there are his community connections and political allies. Over the years Adelson has been one of the largest donors to the Nevada Republican Party, and his resort is used almost exclusively for its largest events.

“They’ve got thousands of people who they are able to reach out to at a moment’s notice,” the operative said.

So far, there’s little evidence Adelson has decided to activate an army of potential Gingrich supporters. And the operative declined to speculate how active Adelson and his political team would be on that front.

But evidence of Adelson’s influence — even if it’s indirect — has been felt in the Nevada campaign.

Some of Adelson’s allies have picked up the reins of the Nevada campaign for Gingrich, including former state Sen. Sue Lowden.

Click to enlarge photo

Senate candidate Sue Lowden delivers her concession speech after losing the Republican primary to Sharron Angle Tuesday, June 8, 2010.

Longtime GOP consultant and Adelson ally Dan Burdish is volunteering his time to help run Gingrich’s Nevada campaign.

Perhaps most notably so far, the squabble over how to include in the caucus Orthodox Jews and others who observe a Saturday Sabbath was sparked by Adelson. The regular start time for the caucuses is at 9 a.m., which would exclude those observing the Sabbath.

“He let his voice be known,” one party official said. “He wasn’t calling up my cell or (Clark County Chairman) Dave Gibbs and asking for this to be done, but he let people know he was upset with it, and word travels fast.”

Soon, the county and state party began receiving phone calls from others, primarily of the Jewish faith, who said the 9 a.m. start disenfranchised their vote.

Ultimately, the Clark County Republican Party decided to hold a separate evening caucus, at the Adelson Educational Campus.

Party officials credit the groundswell of concerned party members for the decision to hold a separate caucus, not Adelson’s influence. Gibbs said Adelson had nothing to do with the selection of the school as the site for the evening caucus. The Adelsons did not personally make the school available, he said.

“The reason it was accepted is A, it was free; B, it was available; and C, it was big enough,” Gibbs said. “That’s it.”

Click to enlarge photo

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, left, and Newt Gingrich gesture during a Republican presidential debate Jan. 23, 2012, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla.

Still, the other campaigns — particularly Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign — who have been working to organize supporters for years, bristled at the last-minute change to the rules.

“The Romney campaign is, of course, supportive of allowing those who cannot attend the Saturday morning caucus for religious observance purposes the opportunity to vote,” said Ryan Erwin, Romney’s Nevada campaign consultant. “Having said that, we feel very strongly the party needs to take all necessary steps to protect the integrity of the process.”

Paul’s Nevada campaign director Carl Bunce was more blunt.

“The Sheldon Adelson ties are troubling,” he said. “It’s his private school, and it happened in the last two weeks, conveniently. It’s ridiculous. You can’t change the rules midstream.”

A decision by Adelson to engage on the organizing side could be significant in leveling the playing field against the turnout machine Romney has painstakingly built over the last four years here.

But the Gingrich campaign also is banking on momentum and a well-funded media campaign to overcome that machine.

With fewer candidates in the race, Gingrich is better able to soak up the anti-Romney vote, but he will have to fend off Paul, who has a strong organization in Nevada. Santorum also is clinging to life and looking for the anti-Romney voters in Nevada.

Click to enlarge photo

Republican presidential candidates, from left, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul look toward moderator Wolf Blitzer of CNN as they participate in the Republican presidential candidate debate in Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 26, 2012.

“I think there’s a lot more money to come, especially if Gingrich wins or keeps Florida close,” said an operative familiar with Adelson’s contributions.

That funding could be critical for sustaining Gingrich’s candidacy as the campaign heads toward Super Tuesday — March 6, when 10 states hold Republican primaries or caucuses — and into states where Romney has built an organization.

“No matter how much organization you have, momentum is very difficult to step in front of in a campaign,” the operative said.

But momentum is also fleeting.

“It’s not a sustaining event in politics,” he said.

Erwin suggested Adelson’s money might work against Gingrich in the end, particularly in a state where Romney has worked assiduously to develop strong relationships.

“(Romney’s) not somebody who is trying to buy the caucus,” Erwin said. “Gov. Romney is the only candidate in this race to make a major policy speech in Nevada. He’s toured the No. 1 foreclosure ZIP code right here in Nevada. He repeatedly talks to Nevada leaders about the problems here and the solutions. Gov. Romney is not a Johnny-come-lately.”

Romney has locked up most of the establishment support in Nevada, winning early endorsements from most of the elected Republicans in the state. The campaign hopes to rely on them to credibly rebut the attacks lobbed against Romney by Gingrich or his super PAC.

“Regardless of an influx of money from anywhere or anyone, this is a state that will respond well to Mitt Romney because he truly understands how to turn around an economy,” Erwin said.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 11 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The 'influential' Sheldon Adelson...

    The Adelson's have spent $10 MILLION CASH on Newton Gingrich's campaign....so far. (That we're aware of).
    A 'special' caucus at Adelson's VERY EXPENSIVE, PRIVATE SCHOOL has been 'arranged'. (It costs over 13 GRAND/year to send a child to PRE-K, nearly 20 GRAND/year for H.S. @ Adelson's school)

    What of the ORIGINAL $20 MILLION the Sun reported Adelson had pledged to the Newtster back in Dec.?

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/dec...

    The Sun has a story buried in it's pages about Sheldon Adelson being under FEDERAL INVESTIGATION for some time now "by the Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission for alleged BRIBERY OF FOREIGN OFFICIALS"...

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/bribes-chi...

    There is OTHER MONEY that Shelly has given to 'I For The Newt';

    "After putting up the seed money and ultimately $7.7 million between 2006 and 2010 for a nonprofit group that served as a precursor to Gingrich's presidential campaign, Adelson, 78, an irascible Las Vegas billionaire, doubled down this month, giving $5 million to a political action committee run by former close aides to Gingrich."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigat...

    What do you suppose that Sheldon expects here in the USA for his multitude of MILLIONS AND MILLIONS spent on Uncle Newtie, should he (GAG) become President?
    ("just trying to help a good friend"...is that what your doing with the Chinese as well, Sheldon?)

    Yes, indeed, Sheldon Adelson is trying to BUY POLITICAL INFLUENCE...
    Both here in the U.S. and in COMMUNIST CHINA.

    Citizens United has single-handedly put a POX on American Politics...it should be REPEALED A.S.A.P.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/01/21/133083209/...

  2. "'(Romney's) not somebody who is trying to buy the caucus,' Erwin said. 'Gov. Romney is the only candidate in this race to make a major policy speech in Nevada. He's toured the No. 1 foreclosure ZIP code right here in Nevada. He repeatedly talks to Nevada leaders about the problems here and the solutions. Gov. Romney is not a Johnny-come-lately.'"

    Mr. Erwin has just spun it beautifully for the Grand Old Party.

    The truth of the matter is the illustrious Mr. Romney came here and, in front of microphones and cameras, told his Nevada audience that the foreclosure process should continue, foreclosure after foreclosure happening here, both business and home, until we hit rock bottom, then start over.

    He confirmed his only motivation is money. Not people. We all are supposed to live in the streets and survive off of making rock soup.

    Mr. Romney is a filthy rich bastard who could care less about anyone here in Nevada. He gets elected as President, it'll be over for all of us.

    Don't believe me? When he was in politics he bent over backwards to give tax breaks and tax cuts for corporations. And in the process, he was basically doing it for himself. HE BENEFITED FROM THE SIGNING OFF OF HIS OWN LEGISLATION.

    As for Mr. Adelson, I just read an article that this cool ten million he spent on Mr. Gingrich's campaign is nothing but a drop in the bucket to him. He intends to reap massive rewards from it if Mr. Gingrich steps into the White House. The ballpark estimate is that Mr. Adelson will profit in tax cuts for the one percenters to the tune of approximately $259 million dollars if we happen to wake up to the nightmare of Emperor Gingrich of the Democratic People's Republic of the United States of America.

    The filthy rich and their corporate Wall Streeters along with the big corporations all say I am unfairly participating in class warfare.

    YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I AM. Bring it on. I'm a willing combatant against their predations.

    Time to get angry, people. It's WAY past time.

    I fully intend to use the greatest power I can ever use to fix this. My vote.

    I intend to get rid of this bastardized version of conservatism that is the Tea/Republican Party. It only leads us down a road to more and more grief, misery and suffering.

    President Obama for another four years.

    And I intend to get rid of as many Tea/Republicans out of the House and the Senate as I can. To Heck with Heller and to Heller with Heck. They're ALL gone.

    That's our only chance to get anything done to fix just about thirty years of rape and pillage performed by the rich upon this thing called America.

  3. Sheldon we all know what your up to,...digging for 10 million in pocket change so you can buy a larger stake of the Republicon party and its boy Fib Newton. Whatever you spent was wasted because as he always does,...Fib will implode,...the party expects it,...the public expects it,...and even Fib expects it.

    You can dump as many millions as you want on a loser but he'll remain one,...he thinks out loud much too often,...lacks any common sense and is not qualified to be President,...he wasn't qualified to be Speaker of the House and his ethics, fines, and personal life prove it.

    Your swimming with a snake,...not that Romney would be any different,...just another subspecies. Cut your losses, fold,...Fib will never be in a position to repay with influence from the oval office.

  4. I Love that Las Vegas has all these Billionaires. Let any of them Point with Pride to the Public Works they are Famous for in This city that gave them so much. Surely there are several Public Structures that bear their name? Hospitals, Universities, Museums, Parks, etc...

  5. Chunky says:

    Mr. Adelson is entitled to spend his political donations any way he wants. He built it, earned it or however he came about it.

    No doubt the other candidates and Mr. Obama have their own "billionaire" contributors who are helping them too.

    Everyone can argue until they're blue in the face about crony this or crony that but it's all politics and to some degree they're all cast out of the same mold.

    Maybe we have the greatest system in the world but it is fraught with perils, pitfalls, corruption and the influence of money. No one candidate is immune or perfect.

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  6. No amount of money will ever win the election for Newt Gingrich. He can have all the money from the Adelsons but in the end, he will still lose; if not in Nevada, in the whole USA.
    I am a Republican but I will never vote for Gingrich.
    I might consider Mr. Romney, if nothing else.

  7. gmag39... why would you make such great note of a school costing what it does? Did you not know that is how the system is? Price any ivory league to a state run college and you will have great difference. This is the reason why some work harder than others to make it into these schools, why some parents work harder then others to make their children attended them. Not everyone has the dream to sit at home collecting welfare and eating bon bons. No mention in your post about the money that has poured into Obama's bank accounts you know who I refer..go ahead and post it.

  8. Fritzy...

    Is that all ya got???
    "Why do you point out it costs 13 grand to send a kid to the Adelson pre-school, or 20 grand for grade school"?
    And you insinuate that those that can't afford the price of admission are "sitting home, eating Bon-Bons"?
    OR...that those who can't afford it "aren't working hard"?
    AND you wonder "why I mention it", in relation to the story about Adelson, the school that bears his name, money, Republicans, a 'special Adelson-ordered caucus', etc.?

    THANK YOU, Fritzy, for pointing out the TOTAL DISCONNECT between the 1 percenter's and the other 99%!

    P.S...
    Where do I find these 'Ivory League' schools?

  9. ...and the Chunkmeister weighs in with his 2 cents;

    "It's OKAY to try to use your wealth to influence an election! If you don't like it, go out and make more money, and do it yourself!"

    Well, here I thought our Democracy was based on each PERSON having an equal vote in the process...
    Not so says this new breed of 'Tea-Thinkers'...

    What do your Tea Leaves tell you about your chances in the 2012 elections?

  10. Chunky says:

    Dear Mr/Ms. Gmag39,

    The use of quotation marks encapsulating YOUR words as if it were a quote by Chunky is improper. You have many fine words and comments of your own to use if you feel the need to use "" in your postings.

    To be clear, Chunky did not write or say:

    "It's OKAY to try to use your wealth to influence an election! If you don't like it, go out and make more money, and do it yourself!"

    Chunky never wrote, said or implied that. Those are your words Sir/Madam.

    If anyone is going to put words or feet in Chunky's mouth he's well equipped to do it himself.

    Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Thank you as well for your contributions and elevation of our discussions here whether we agree on all of them or not.

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  11. Gmag39, I have no idea what you do to earn a living, I have done all the worst, cleaning toilets, putting my life in danger over an employee to complete a job, whatever it took to make money to live. So if someone wants to go to an expensive school I say all the better, it shows the commitment of the family. If you really need a list of the schools here it is. By the way your favorite president went to one, ( Columbia) so now what?
    http://collegeapps.about.com/od/choosing...
    You will find many past presidents came from some. Yes I do insinuate if you sit at home eating bon bons instead of working, even cleaning toilets, you are wasting your child's future because of your own laziness.