Las Vegas Review-Journal Endorsement of RAWA Supporter Marco Rubio Reportedly Uninfluenced by Adelson Ownership

Posted on February 8th, 2016 by Jon Pineda
Las Vegas Review-Journal Marco Rubio

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has received the support of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a key endorsement considering Nevada’s swing-state status and the newspaper’s vast readership. (Image: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ) is moving all-in on Florida Senator Marco Rubio for the Nevada Republican caucus, set to take place in the Silver State on February 23rd. One of two daily newspapers in Sin City and the largest distributed paper in Nevada, the LVRJ editorial board published its support of Rubio in its Friday edition.

Las Vegas Sands billionaire Sheldon Adelson acquired the LVRJ in December for a reported price of $140 million. One of the GOP’s most lucrative financial donors, Adelson’s ownership of the LVRJ did not influence the Rubio declaration, at least according to the paper’s column.

“The RJ met with Sen. Rubio on Oct. 9, two months before the announcement of the newspaper’s sale … The Adelsons have detached themselves from our endorsement process, and our endorsement of Sen. Rubio does not represent the support of the family,” the LVRJ wrote in its column.

Adelson’s Big Bluff?

Of course, no one in America is working harder to block the expansion of online poker and interactive digital casinos than Sheldon Adelson. While pro-Israeli policies are important to Adelson through his work with the Republican Jewish Coalition, the casino magnate is no doubt also looking for a presidential candidate who opposes Internet gambling, and Rubio fits the bill on both counts.

Senator Rubio co-sponsored S.1668, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), last June. RAWA would block the use of wire communications for transmitting online bets or wagers and outlaw online poker on a federal level. It’s attempt to gain traction in Congress have, so far at least, met with less than lukewarm enthusiasm.

Along with his wife Miriam, the Adelson family donated upwards of $100 million during the last presidential cycle in 2012, and every cent went to Republican candidates. It’s rumored that Rubio is Sheldon’s preferred candidate for 2016, though the Venetian and Palazzo owner hasn’t yet publicly endorsed the Florida senator.

Readers, not suprisingly, are skeptical that Adelson is not, in fact, influencing the LVRJ. Numerous reports have surfaced since the takeover that allege Adelson is regulating content to at least some degree.

Why Rubio?

In its op-ed, the LVRJ says “Rubio is best-positioned to advance from the primary season and allow the GOP to win the White House.” The paper cited Rubio’s residency in the Las Vegas Valley as a youth, his views on changing immigration to a merit-based system, the federal government’s unwarranted stake in Nevada land ownership, overall electability, and his limited-government approach in its reasoning of support.

Limited government is a pillar of conservatism, which is why expanding the federal government’s oversight on iGaming is seen as contradictory to many in that regard.

The LVRJ has disclaimed that the editorial board told all the candidates that to be considered for its backing, the candidate would need to meet privately with the paper. Nationwide polling leader Donald Trump failed to meet that requirement.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Iowa caucus winner Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), and Dr. Ben Carson all obliged, but it was Rubio who ultimately wooed the staff.

“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,” the LVRJ concluded.

Rubio had a strong showing in Iowa, where he placed third, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush heavily attacked him in the GOP debate on Saturday night. On Tuesday, voters in New Hampshire will decide whether Rubio’s campaign will continue gaining momentum, as the race heads to South Carolina and then west to Nevada later this month.

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