Sheldon Adelson’s big investment in the presidential election has been a focus of national attention. But the LasVegas billionaire is also deeply invested in the outcome of another election for federal office — Nevada’s U.S. Senate race.
Sheldon Adelson emerged this year as the Republican billionaire who kept Newt Gingrich’s flailing presidential campaign afloat and then vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to oust President Barack Obama.
In the city where his fortunes were first minted, however, Adelson’s involvement in elective politics has been defined by a different brutal and enduring drama: His 15-year quest to take down Shelley Berkley.
That battle climaxes on Election Day when either Berkley foils Adelson once again by defeating Nevada Sen. Dean Heller — or her political career ends amid a hail of attack ads funded by the Las Vegas Sands CEO.
Their path from confidants to mortal foes began in the mid-1990s when, as Adelson’s corporate lawyer, she vocally opposed his efforts to open the Venetian hotel-casino as a non-union shop. She also says he tried to force her to run for Congress as a Republican. He wrote in the local newspaper that she betrayed his attorney-client privileges and said he’d have to engage in corruption to get his project approved.
“I hate even talking about him because after all these years, it still upsets me terribly,” Berkley said. “We were very good friends, obviously, when I went to work for him.”