Adam Laxalt has the campaign money and connections, but does he have Nevadans’ hearts?
This coming November 6th, Laxalt, Nevada’s current Attorney General, will be running as the Republican Party Primary to be Nevada’s next governor against Democratic Party Primary Sisolak. While Laxalt’s campaign is to replace current Republican incumbent Brian Sandoval who cannot run for re-election due to term limits, many of Laxalt’s critics claim he intends to replace all Sandoval’s hard work through removing online poker, online gambling, and through cutting education funds. Despite education being a number one issue in Nevada, Republicans in the state are more concerned with maintaining their 20-year stronghold as a red governorship state.
Nevada is the current leading industry in the country for online gambling, whether it is poker or sports betting. However, in 2015 Laxalt had said he intends to remove online gambling from Nevada and reinstate Nevada to its pre-online poker era.
The Governor candidate also added his name to the list of state Attorney Generals in support of a bill to prohibit all online gambling known as RAWA, as well as, begging President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence before their transition into office to change positions on the Wire Act to include prohibitions toward online gambling whether they are domestically licensed and operated or offshore.
Sources confirm Laxalt acted without consulting then-Governor Brian Sandoval, a supporter of online gambling who spearheaded the 2013 NV online poker bill, or any of Nevada’s online operators on such a matter which they would be directly affected by. Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman AG Burnett confirmed these statements before being bullied to resign after Laxalt accused Burnett of colluding with Democrats to undermine the Attorney General.
However, numerous individuals and records show why Laxalt takes his anti-online gambling stance including statements made by same-party candidate State Treasurer Dan Schwartz who, during the Republican Primary Pick for Nevada, confirmed Laxalt was sitting in Sheldon Adelson’s pocket.
Sheldon Adelson is a Nevada casino billionaire who founded and is the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. He is also is a large donator to the Republican party across the US and has a distaste for online gambling.
Adelson has been a significant contributor to Laxalt’s political career beginning with Laxalt’s Attorney General campaign in 2014 where Laxalt’s campaign received $210,222 from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Prior to the Republican Primary Pick, Adelson donated $30,000-40,000 to Laxalt’s Governor campaign, as well as, a $5,000 donation from Adelson’s own daughter.
In addition to connecting the money to politicians, Adelson, his family, wife, and even top officials from Sands Corp. have donated over $100,000 to Laxalt’s “Morning in Nevada” PAC in 2015. This PAC mostly supports an annual Basque Fry, where Laxalt attempts to woo Nevadans by showing his “country side” through food, music, and festivities. Laxalt has strong financial ties and loyalty to Adelson and his contributions, which only confirms statements made concerning Adelson and Laxalt’s political relationship.
However, Laxalt received a personal blow to his campaign after an op-ed piece written by 12 of Laxalt’s family members in the Reno Gazette Journal confirmed Laxalt’s inauthenticity, lack of values, false claims of being a Nevadan, and phony props. The members urged voters to choose the right choice: a Governor with true interests in the state’s wellbeing over out-of-state donors and corporations and stated anyone other than Adam Laxalt would be best for Nevada.
Within their op-ed, they included Laxalt’s anti-immigration sentiments despite being a descendant of immigrants, as well as, against businesses and individuals coming to Nevada from another US State, his anti-choice agenda, stance on health care and education funding, and serving the interests of the powerful rather than “real Nevadans”.
To continue, the family debunked Laxalt’s claims of being raised in Nevada stating while Adam Laxalt was born in Reno, he left as an infant and was raised in Washington D.C and remained there well into his adult life. This is where most individuals speculate Laxalt’s political connections had been sown.
They also commented Adam Laxalt only came back to Nevada in 2013 to begin his political career one year later and leverage the family name as a political tool; Laxalt’s grandfather was a Nevada Governor between 1967 to 1971 and US Senator from 1974 to 1987 and a close friend of former President Reagan.
The family continued by spoiling Laxalt’s biggest yearly event, the Basque Fry, as a phony event orchestrated by Washington D.C.’s most powerful individuals to sway Nevadan’s opinion of Laxalt. During the Basque Fry, Adam Laxalt often dawns a new western shirt with his campaign logo monogrammed on the shirt, clean unscuffed work boots, and new blue jeans and poses in front of a stage with an orange tractor and hay bales for promotional videos. They claim the phoniness runs deep from the setting, costumes, to the folky props used as photoshoot items meant to project authenticity and deep ties Nevada and its history.
Other issues face Laxalt though, as recent claims by the State Bar of Nevada attest Laxalt did not disclose all of his arrests before applying to practice law in Nevada. While Laxalt disclosed his 1997 DUI arrest on the application and has openly conversed about his addiction to alcohol as a teenager and entering rehab at the age of eighteen, Laxalt failed to disclose a juvenile assault arrest in Alexandria, Virginia in 1996 against a police officer. The State Bar states this information should have been disclosed upon his application and this information could lead to a possible internal investigation.
However, the State Bar of Nevada is not the only one concerned with this arrest as the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers have also expressed their own concerns on the assault arrest as “extremely disturbing to Nevada’s law enforcement community”.
The association’s Executive Director stated, “When someone has a history of violence, especially toward officers of the law, it should be a concern for anyone around them… This holds especially true for Nevada’s ‘top cop’ who now wants a promotion to Governor.” Laxalt has also received harsh criticisms from colleagues he practiced law with who stated, “[Laxalt’s] brief experience practicing law was a train wreck”.
Perhaps Laxalt does ignore the law to serve his own self-interests. Perhaps he is in the pocket of one of the wealthiest casino owners in the country. Perhaps Laxalt is a puppet for not only Adelson but those in Washington D.C. who hope to change the landscape of Nevada through him. Either way, November’s mid-term elections are closing in and current sportsbooks show Laxalt at -130 odds and Sisolak as Even, polls show lose margins between the two candidates with no clear favorite.