Will Adelson Bring GOP Convention Home?

Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Adelson is putting his money where his mouth is. With the billionaire’s influence and big bucks, Las Vegas has become a leading contender for the 2016 Republican national convention.

Three cities eliminated, 6 remaining

Las Vegas is now a prime candidate to host the Republican National Convention in 2016. When the Republican National Committee makes its choice this fall, some Sin City boosters think a major GOP donor, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, could be the deciding influence.

Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., is one of the world’s richest people. He is also a big-time political contributor who has been generous in his support of Republican candidates including former presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

According to the Associated Press, Adelson has pledged to use his considerable financial might and political muscle to bring the convention to Las Vegas.

Some competitors claim Vegas’s wild-and-crazy image does not jibe with GOP conservatism. Phillip Jones, head of the Dallas convention committee, may have been alluding to Vegas when he said some cities “have some significant messaging challenges.”

But former Nevada Governor Bob List said, “It’s a business proposition. A city wanting this convention is going to need real money behind it.” Besides, List added, “Sheldon wants it.”

Columbus, Ohio and Phoenix were eliminated during the first round of competition. That leaves Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Missouri, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Dallas has its share of wealthy donors, including those with ties to the Bush family and the oil industry. The city has already accumulated $41 million in donor pledges, according to the AP>
“We have several powerful billionaire figures supporting our bid,” Jones said. “If they want to play the billionaire game, we win.”

Kansas City Mayor Sly James, a Democrat who wants to see the GOP in his town, acknowledged the strengths of other cities. “Dallas is big. It’s got its millionaires. Hooray, I’m happy for the. And Las Vegas has got all of its other stuff—and it’s very well-known, and very popular for those who want to partake.” But Kansas City, he said, is full of “people who have good solid Midwestern values.”

The website Pagesix.com cites an anonymous insider who said, “Sheldon is adamant that the GOP must go to Vegas,” and if Adelson doesn’t get his way, he could give a couple hundred million dollars to the Democrats.