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Adelson vows to double down on political spending (and endorses ‘socialized-like health care’)

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Sheldon Adelson may have bet on mostly losing candidates, but that doesn’t mean he’s folding.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the GOP mega-donor and gambling tycoon said that he expects to "double" his political spending in the future, despite most of his candidates losing.

"I happen to be in a unique business where winning and losing is the basis of the entire business," Adelson told the Journal. "There’s always a new hand coming up."

Referring to his past expenditures, he said: "I’ll spend that much and more. Let’s cut any ambiguity."

Adelson wouldn’t divulge his total giving, the Journal reported. But based on information from sources close to Adelson and GOP fundraisers, the Journal said that he spent more than $100 million in the recent election. (Sources recently told The Huffington Post that he spent close to $150 million.)

While much of the public attention on Adelson has focused on his right-wing views on Israel, the Journal article highlighted another issue that drives the billionaire’s poltical giving: his antipathy toward unions.

The Journal reports:

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What divides Mr. Adelson from the Democratic Party is his stand on unions, which have been unable to organize his workers. His flagship, the Venetian, is the only nonunion casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Mr. Adelson said he was likely to continue funding state-by-state efforts to curtail organized labor’s power, in particular by trying to overturn their use of collective bargaining agreements. That was a feature of high-stakes political fights this year in states including Ohio and Wisconsin.

Interestingly (and as I noted at the time) Adelson conspicuously made no mention of unions in a pre-election op-ed in which he explained his rupture with the Democrats and argued that the party had betrayed the values of the Jewish community in which he grew up. (This was undoubtedly partly because his parents’ generation of Jews tended to be pro-union.)

Also in his Wall Street Journal interview, Adelson sounds some surprisingly liberal notes. Adelson has been very public in saying that he is a liberal on social issues such as abortion, and he also informs the Journal: "I’m in favor of a socialized-like health care," citing the system in Israel.

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