Republican mega donor Sheldon Adelson and his wife have given US$75 million to a new super PAC that is attacking Democratic nominee Joe Biden, an investment made amid Republican concern that President Donald Trump’s campaign is flailing and might not be able to correct course.
Macau casino owner Sheldon Adelson waits for the arrival of President Donald Trump to a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas in February. Macau’s Legislative Assembly had passed on July 14, 2017 a revised bill on smoking that bans tableside tobacco use in VIP rooms – the only places in the Macau casino context that were still allowing smoking at the gaming table. Although the new rules came into force on January 1, 2018, tableside smoking at VIP rooms was in effect permitted. Stanley Ho Hung-sun, a businessman who shaped the course of history in Macau and Hong Kong over the past half-century, is best known for the wealth generated by his casinos.
Sheldon also owns casinos in Macau.
The money from Adelson has been the driving force behind a US$68 million attack campaign against Biden by the group Preserve America, which launched in August. It is run by Chris LaCivita, the strategist behind the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth campaign, which helped tank then-Democratic nominee John Kerry’s bid with misleading ads that questioned his record in the Vietnam War.
The Adelsons’ role in Preserve America, as well as the amount of money both he and his wife, Miriam, contributed were unclear until Thursday, when the group filed its first mandatory disclosure with the Federal Election Commission.
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The creation of the group is a sign that some Republican donors are worried by the approach taken by Trump’s campaign, as well as his officially sanctioned super political action committee, America First Action.
“America First made a series of tactical mistakes” and “peaked too early” while groups supporting Biden “hit the right buttons,” said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor who has given over $190,000 to Trump’s election efforts, including $5,000 to America First Action.
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A spokesperson for Adelson, who is the chair of the Sands casino corporation in Las Vegas, did not respond to a request for comment. Preserve America declined to comment.
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Preserve America came into existence at the end of a tumultuous summer in which Trump’s standing in the polls took a hit over his handling of the coronavirus and the resulting economic downturn.
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Trump’s campaign and America First Action collectively spent over US$247 million on TV and Facebook advertising between April and August, according to data collected by the ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG. But the ads fell flat, did little to dent Biden’s lead in the polls and lacked a thematic approach to build a case against Biden.-AP