July 20th, 2014
09:52 AM ET
2 months ago

The ‘Inside Politics’ Forecast: Adelson’s $100 million dollar bet?

CNN's John King and other top political reporters empty out their notebooks each Sunday on "Inside Politics" to reveal five things that will be in the headlines in the days, weeks and months ahead.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Big 2014 midterm races and calculations, and a 2016 wrinkle or two, filled a trip around our Inside Politics table to close this Sunday's program.

1. A GOP mega-donor mulls a big 2014 play

If you had a big, high-stakes project, think an extra $1 million a day might help?

Well, leading GOP sources focused on 2014 Senate races say such a boost is being contemplated by GOP megadonor Sheledon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino mogul.

Adelson has spent some time of late studying the map, and receiving briefings on state-by-state strategy and candidates. And he is promising to help Republicans target a dozen seats now held by Democrats, with the ultimate goal of picking up at least six - and the Senate majority. The GOP also is defending seats in Georgia and Kentucky.

So watch in the days and weeks ahead to see how much of a Senate play Adelson is prepared to make. One of the sources involved said it could be as much as $100 million. With 107 days to the election from Sunday, that would be an eye-popping bet.

2. Not your father's Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce is already a big player in the 2014 battle, and CNN’s Peter Hamby discussed his in-depth reporting on just how much of a boost the business group's work has been for Republicans.

This aggressive political play outside of the capital is a big shift for the Chamber, and a huge factor in the establishment vs. tea party tug-of-war playing out in the GOP.

“The Chamber of Commerce has really moved away from being just a lobbying organization in DC to being one of the more preeminent political players in campaigns– rivaling American Crossroads,” said Hamby. “So that’s a big deal in American politics.”

3. Exhibit A: the Georgia Senate GOP runoff

Molly Ball of The Atlantic teed up a textbook example of the Chamber's 2014 strategy: next week's GOP Senate runoff in Georgia.

The Chamber backs GOP Rep. Jack Kingston over businessman David Perdue.

It was Perdue who won the most votes in the first round, with Kingston second. But the runoff is needed because neither cracked 50 percent, and Molly reports the Chamber is confident its investment in Kingston will bear fruit Tuesday.

“Although Perdue came in first in the first round, Kingston looks like he is up in the runoff,” said Ball. “If he does win the runoff, it will be another victory for the Chamber of Commerce, which has backed Kingston very aggressively.”

The Chamber of Commerce pushing for Kingston on Twitter this week:

4. Gillespie disappoints some GOP watchers

GOP leaders cheered when veteran operative Ed Gillespie jumped into the Virginia Senate race, believing it would give them a chance, albeit a long shot, to defeat Democratic Sen. Mark Warner. Even a competitive race forces Democrats to spread precious resources into the state.

Gillespie's decision was welcomed because of his deep resume: longtime Capitol Hill aide, former Republican National Committee chairman, former top Bush White House adviser, former top Mitt Romney adviser. Add all that up, and the thinking was: smarty guy, with a deeper than deep fund-raising reservoir.

Now there's no GOP panic in Virginia, but Politico's Maggie Haberman shared behind-the-scenes reporting on a development that surprised, and disappointed, some GOPers closely watching the race.

“Ed Gillespie, who is running for Senate in Virginia, has been a pretty effective fundraiser but he was outraised by Scott Brown,” said Haberman.

“He has good cash on hand, but the fact that he got $1.9 million and Scott Brown got $2.34, $2.35 million was not lost on some folks.”

Ed Gillespie’s tweet from this month wishing one of his very famous former bosses a happy birthday:

5. Yes, Virginia you ARE a quadrennial battleground now

Jonathan Martin of The New York Times reminded us once reliably red Virginia is now a presidential battleground - and the 2014 cycle offers a chance for presidential prospects to test the waters, and make some important friends.

President Obama carried the state in 2008 and 2012, and it’s hard to map out a GOP White House win without Virginia.

So Jonathan reports that Sen. Rand Paul is looking to deepen his ties in the state.

"On Tuesday, Rand Paul is going to be in Arlington, sitting down with two candidates who ran in Virginia last year—Pete Snyder and Ken Cuccinelli,” said Martin.

And Jonathan also tells us, the aforementioned Ed Gillespie is soon to get some help from another 2016 prospect: Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence.

soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Thomas Rex

    Unless Sheldon can figure out a way to change the Presidential veto process, not much new going to happen.

    July 20, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  2. Terry in Florida

    Disgusting. Makes me sick. this jerkoff wants to do good in America? Instead of buying votes with money-speech, build a homeless shelter. Instead of trying to buy favors, create them by helping the poor and destitute. oh wait, I forgot... they don't matter to you because they can't afford your casinos.

    Adelson, you are about as UN-American as it gets. You and the Tea Party deserve each other.

    July 20, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. mike2001

    A fool and his money are soon separated

    July 20, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  4. R

    To DC Johnny.
    People tune into Oprah on purpose and they expect to hear her voice her opinions. She doesn't spend millions shouting her opinions in the media.. People buy newspapers to read what the editorials say. People watch generic TV shows to be entertained.
    For speech to be free it must be equal. If I can pay to drown out your ideas is that free speech? If I could pay to over-write your posts would that simply my freedom of speech to silence you? The 1st amendment forbids the government from silencing your ideas. Not allowing one to monopolize the media is not censorship, but fairness. Publicly funded elections would even the playing field, but I bet even is not good enough for you. You want an unfair advantage, don't you

    July 20, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  5. AW

    For all of you anti-First Amendment leftists out there, would you also call for people like Oprah not to endorse a candidate, as precious time on her show and even more fundamentally, her influence as a public figure, are worth countless tens of millions of dollars?

    How about newspapers or online publications, and their endorsements? Should those be illegal as well?

    I'm just curious where your devotion to representative government ends and your hypocrisy begins.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    Damn straight I wouldn't. You want to spend money and influence, do it properly. Endorse and fund only candidates whose elections you can vote in. There's absolutely NO reason to be trying to influence races that don't represent you. Spending millions of dollars to get people elected so they can vote your way, when they're not SUPPOSED to be representing you is nothing but if you live in Nevada, you should absolutely not be funding the election of a Senator in Missouri, or a Representative in New Hampshire, or any stupid bullshit like that. They don't represent you, they're not supposed to represent you, so stop using your influence and wealth to make them represent you. You're not exercising your own free speech at that point, you're using your wealth and power to stomp out everyone else's.

    July 20, 2014 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Dyslexic Agnostic

    The sad reality is that the majority of voters (or at least so it would seem) do not want to put in the effort to find out what the candidates stand for. So big money creating attack adds will be very effective. How sad that the american electorate has become so indifferent.

    July 20, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  7. Mark P

    This is the guy that put millions on Newt Gingrich in 2012, so he's not exactly Nostradamus...

    July 20, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  8. macaoprofits

    The GOP will provide a good home for Sheldon Adelson's chinese gambling profits. This is where the majority of his profits come from since his Las Vegas investments make only a pittance for him. Do you think an Adelson-anointed republican president will do anything against China ? Think twice. Foreign profits should not be allowed as campaign support in the US.

    July 20, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  9. Mark

    Now that this off-the-rails Republican-majority Supreme Court has put the United States of America up for auction to on eBay (see Citizens United and McCutcheon), it's finally available for purchase to the highest bidder. Thanks, Republicans. We always meant it metaphorically when we said you sold out America. Now it's literal.

    July 20, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  10. Rob Pasch

    Adelson is able to spend (just short- of) $1 million/day for these upcoming elections.

    Uber-rich guy. VEGAS. No limits on "outside influence" money. VEGAS. NOT a "public servant",................trying to influence "government" VEGAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The point is,..............money-or-not,.................VEGAS money is NEVER "without question".

    July 20, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  11. JJ

    Sheldon is just as much a retread loser as most of the GOP. He bet on Gingrich. Lost. Then bet on Myth Romney. Lost again. Loser.

    July 20, 2014 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  12. Guest

    All I can say is Americans wake up! I don't care which side of the fence you stand on, all the money flowing for both parties is just crazy and only a select few benefit from it? Who do you think the millions almost billions of $ go to? Now think on that! It sure ain't "you".

    July 20, 2014 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. NIckAnast

    DC Johnny:
    For all of you anti-First Amendment leftists out there, would you also call for people like Oprah not to endorse a candidate, as precious time on her show and even more fundamentally, her influence as a public figure, are worth countless tens of millions of dollars?
    How about newspapers or online publications, and their endorsements? Should those be illegal as well?
    I'm just curious where your devotion to representative government ends and your hypocrisy begins.

    Ima Right:
    George Soros and Warren Buffett have been doing this for years for the Democrats. Nobody seems to have had a problem with it in 2008 or 2012.
    *********************************************************************
    You're both wrong. None of the Democratic supporters you have mentioned has personally invested as much money as Sheldon Adelson did in 2012 alone (around $15 million) and is planning to spend in 2014 ($100 million). Throw in the Koch Brothers' promise to spend up to $290 million in 2014 and you have three billionaires literally trying to buy Congress.
    Money does not equal speech. Or, to put it another way, the right to free speech of millions of Americans should not be rendered meaningless by three billionaires.

    July 20, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  14. Winston Smith

    DC Johnny
    For all of you anti-First Amendment leftists out there, would you also call for people like Oprah not to endorse a candidate, as precious time on her show and even more fundamentally, her influence as a public figure, are worth countless tens of millions of dollars?

    How about newspapers or online publications, and their endorsements? Should those be illegal as well?

    I'm just curious where your devotion to representative government ends and your hypocrisy begins.
    ----

    Not exactly. Citizens United changed things. Nobody should be allowed to just spend however much money they want on a candidate. For two reasons. 1) It's common sense, that breeds corruption and makes it even more likely that candidates who win will only listen to those who gave them money in the election, and 2) it's not how freedom of speech works and not what the founding fathers intended.

    It's one thing to have lots of money. But this isn't really a question of money, it's a question of power. It's a question of, "Okay so you've got a billion dollars. What can you buy with that bil? Can you buy a plane, a boat? Sure. But can you also buy a political candidate who will do whatever you want once they get into office?"

    I think the First Amendment is not understood by most Americans. It does not, and has never, allowed one to say or do whatever they want without any consequences. They've said fascism is coming to America, but this is a true and concrete example of just such fascism. I would say we are nearly a plutocracy and should start to consider ourselves one. If you don't like that, then it's time to start undoing a lot of the new laws that have been put into effect since 9/11, from the Patriot Act to Citizens United.

    July 21, 2014 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  15. dave

    The TV stations love it! Perhaps why all the attention is on the horse race aspect of the contests.

    July 21, 2014 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  16. Shawn Irwin

    To much money in the hands of to few people . . . . that can only come to a bad end.

    July 21, 2014 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  17. rude

    Money=votes.

    July 21, 2014 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  18. Kings on the back row......

    ..
    ..A gop majority congress will allow the gop / tea party to return to their favorite year........1952
    ..

    July 21, 2014 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  19. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @just asking: 'record unemployment for record time with little to no economic growth for 5.5 years is 'better economically'??? are you posting from colorado while puffing on weed?"

    The economy added more jobs during four years under Obama than it did in the entire eight years under Bush. Counting jobs added in February, his total now stands at a net gain of over 1.5 million jobs.

    The economy lost 8.7 million jobs as a result of the 2007-2009 recession, the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Those losses included 4.4 million jobs lost during Bush’s final year, and another 4.3 million during Obama’s first 13 months in office. But since then, all the jobs initially lost under Obama have been regained, plus another 1,564,000.

    Unemployment rates are still too high: How about you focusing some of your anger at all the AMERICAN companies who've shipped jobs overseas? And the repub policies that reward them for that behavior?

    Yes, there are a lot of people on food stamps. How about some pressure on AMERICAN companies that pay their employees low wages? Or pressure on companies like Walmart that are corporate welfare queens, passing the cost of their low-wage employees onto local governments who get hit with helping those WORKING POOR make ends meet?

    The stock market has recovered under Obama's policies – and that is good news for folks like me and my family who have invested throughout our working careers.

    Federal debt? It is high, but at least it is growing at a slower pace. Federal spending is also growing at a slower pace than under GW (11.2% since Obama took office, compared to tax-cut-and-spend GW whose rate was 34%).

    President Obama had the stones to stop lying to us like GW was by hiding the cost of two unfunded wars and unfunded Medicare Part D. It's going to take some time to pay off – but at least we're no longer pretending that Iraqi oil would pay for the Iraq invasion. That fiasco is all thanks to Georgie and his arrogance.

    All repubs and tea bags want to do is reinstate the failed tax cut for the rich policy failures of the past; only a fool clings to that fairy tale.

    So I stand by my statement: Although we still have a long way to go, we ARE doing better economically.

    July 21, 2014 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  20. vidal808

    No, it's the plain stupidity of the 99% that is voting for those morons....when do people have enough brains to see trough the political smoke screen and realize that money talks and if you don't go out to vote, you deserve what you get.

    July 21, 2014 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  21. DC Oregon

    Regardless of party Affiliation, this type of influence only further argues its merit! The strategic targeting for selected political candidates are in direct proportion to a larger goal. If Adelson is willing to contribute that kind of money, he is anticipating a lofty return on that investment I can only surmise. As with the Chamber of Commerce, if good for the Republicans then its good for us! Funny how these Pro business folks give so much of their wealth to a Party that has performed so poorly in executing their fiduciary responsibilities. Heck, if they were on their payroll, all would be gone by now! Kind of contradictory isn't it? Maybe that's the plan. Just dumb down and allow business to continue calling the shots until this Country buckles under................

    July 21, 2014 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  22. Anonymous

    I'm so sick of the Adelsons and Kochs in this country buying elections for the GOP. If the GOP had to run a fair campaign money-wise, and weren't allowed to pass laws to disenfranchise voters because of bogeyman voter fraud, they'd get destroyed and never be heard from again. The sickening accumulation of wealth in the top 1% would disappear in 10 years.

    July 21, 2014 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  23. ditdahdit

    "... the abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining the elections. Later on, however, this process of corruption spread to the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of the emperors." Plutarch

    July 21, 2014 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  24. Gator

    A Republican donates $100 he is buying the election. Tom Steyer donates the same amount to Democrats it is wonderful.
    Double standard?

    July 21, 2014 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  25. kinjirurm

    So, he's spending $100 million on a campaign purely out of the goodness of his heart, right? I mean, who would do that to amass tons of power over the population?

    July 21, 2014 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
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