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Sheldon Adelson-owned Las Vegas Review-Journal endorses Marco Rubio

The Guardian

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, now under the ownership of billionaire casino mogul and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, has endorsed senator Marco Rubio in the presidential race.

The high-profile endorsement comes after months of speculation surrounding Adelson’s initially secretive purchase of Nevada’s largest newspaper, with the news organization’s own staff forced to investigate the identity of their new boss.

The endorsement published Friday afternoon includes a prominent disclaimer distancing Adelson from the decision: “The RJ met with Sen. Rubio on Oct. 9, two months before the announcement of the newspaper’s sale to the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. The Adelsons have detached themselves from our endorsement process, and our endorsement of Sen. Rubio does not represent the support of the family.”

That disclosure, however, is unlikely to quell speculation that Adelson had a hand in selecting Rubio in advance of the Republican caucus in Nevada on 23 February.

The timing of the sale and purchase of the Review-Journal as the 2016 presidential race was heating up sparked widespread rumors that Adelson was interested in using the paper to exert his influence over the race in Nevada, a key swing state.

 

Adelson donated more than $92m to conservative Super Pacs in an effort to help elect a Republican in the 2012 race. Adelson has interests in the state’s gaming and tourism industries as the principal owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

Rubio, meanwhile, has aggressively courted Adelson’s backing, having met with the billionaire several times in Las Vegas and often staying in close contact by phone.

Immediately after the purchase of the Review-Journal, Adelson was silent, leading staffers to demand on Twitter that the buyers disclose themselves. Reporters at the paper eventually revealed the new owner and Adelson himself published a page-two note saying: “It was always our intention to publicly announce our ownership.”

In a front-page editorial in December, the paper said it would not allow Adelson to skew coverage: “We will fight for your trust. Every. Single. Day. Even if our former owners and current operators don’t want us to.”

Friday’s editorial stated: “Our reasons for endorsing Sen. Rubio are many. Notably, the Florida senator has deep personal connections to the state. He lived in the Las Vegas Valley from age 8 to age 14, the son of immigrants employed by the hotel industry. The driving force behind the 44-year-old’s compelling story is his family’s pursuit of better opportunities and a better life. The policies he champions in his campaign are intended to provide all Americans as much.”

Although Adelson’s wife, Miriam, reportedly prefers Ted Cruz, the casino magnate is rumored to be inching closer to endorsing Rubio himself.

Rubio has been vocal in his support for Israel in legislation and speeches in the US Senate. He has also sponsored legislation against online gambling, which is one of Adelson’s priorities.

Rubio, however, has denied that Adelson has shaped his agenda. He told reporters last year: “People buy into my agenda. I don’t buy into theirs. When I run for office, I tell people where I stand … My stands are not influenced by my contributors. I hope my stands influence my contributors.”

Source: The Guardian

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