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