Sheldon Adelson Breaks Spending Record on Midterm Elections, Surpassing $100M

Conservative megadonor outpaces his 2016 spending

Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, attends a forum on guarding against a nuclear Iran in March 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Conservative megadonors Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Adelson have doled out more than $100 million to aid Republicans in the midterm election, far outpacing their giving during the 2016 presidential cycle.

A new $25 million donation puts the billionaire benefactors’ total spending toward helping Republicans hold on to both chambers of Congress at $113 million, Bloomberg reported. The donation was to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

That total surpasses the $82.6 million the couple spent on the 2016 cycle. 

And it makes the Adelsons’ spending on this year’s midterms the new benchmark for the most any individual household has spent on one election — including campaign committees, parties and PACs — since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010, according to OpenSecrets. The rankings by OpenSecrets do not include donations through 501(c)(4) “dark money” groups.

The casino magnate and his wife, a physician, have ratcheted up their giving at breakneck speed since spring. As of May, they had donated less than $1 million, according to an OpenSecrets report.

The Senate Leadership Fund wasn’t the only group to benefit. The Adelsons have also been major donors to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with House Speaker Paul Ryan that aims to help Republicans hold on to the House.

The cash infusion from the Adelsons comes as Democratic candidates like Rep. Beto O’Rourke — in a Senate race against Texas incumbent Ted Cruz that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Likely Republican — see gangbusters fundraising from individual small donors.

Sheldon Adelson was viewed as a kingmaker during the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Several candidates including Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio vied for his favor in the so-called “Adelson primary.”

Adelson is the chief executive of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Forbes estimates his wealth is $33.4 billion.

12 Ratings Changes for House, Senate and Gubernatorial Races: 4 Toward GOP, 8 Toward Democrats

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.