Tough Night for Sheldon Adelson

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It’s been a tough night for Jewish political mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate who was the biggest political donor of the election cycle.

Adelson and his wife had backed Mitt Romney with $20 million in donations to the pro-Romney super PAC. But his spending on failed Republican candidates went well beyond the top of the ticket.

Four additional Adelson-backed candidates lost their races tonight. In Virginia, Tim Kaine won the governorship over George Allen, whose super PAC had received $1.5 million from Adelson. In Florida, Bill Nelson won the Senate seat over Connie Mack, who Adelson had backed with $1 million. And in New Jersey, Adelson-backed Orthodox Jewish Republican Shmuley Boteach lost to Democratic incumbent Congressman Bill Pascrell.

In Florida’s 18th Congressional District, Adelson-backed Republican Allen West narrowly trailed Democrat Patrick Murphy, who was declared the winner by news organizations.

A bright spot for Adelson came late in the night, when his friend-turned-nemesis Shelley Berkley narrowly lost a Senate race in his home state of Nevada.

Earlier in the cycle, Adelson-backed Republican presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich lost out to Romney. David Dewhurst, an Adelson-backed candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, lost in the Republican primary in that state.

Of course, Adelson also spent an unknown - but presumably large - sum backing the Republican Jewish Coalition, which has worked to generally shift Jews away from the Democrats. Exit polls suggest they made have had some success there.

Written by

Josh Nathan-Kazis

Josh Nathan-Kazis

Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.

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