Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Sheldon Adelson ally and opponent of online poker, was defeated in his bid to become the next Governor of the Silver State, losing to Democrat Steve Sisolak on Tuesday night. Sisolak received 49.4 percent of the vote to Laxalt’s 45.3 percent.
Laxalt is a RAWA Fan
Nevada was the first state to legalize and regulate online poker and is still just one of three with an active online poker industry (Pennsylvania will join soon). But despite this, and the state’s position as the gambling hub of the world, Laxalt co-signed a letter in 2015 and 2016 with other Attorneys General in support of Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). RAWA, as we have discussed on this site numerous times, would effectively make online poker illegal in the United States by codifying the previous incorrect interpretation of the Wire Act.
Laxalt likely got connected to Adelson through lobbying firm j3 Strategies, for which his sister, Tessa Laxalt, works. Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. has contracted with j3 for lobbying efforts and Adelson hired j3 to help create his anti-online poker Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG).
Even His Family Didn’t Vote for Him
Throughout the gubernatorial campaign, Laxalt had a sizeable problem in that many members of his extended family not only supported his opponent, but publicly spoke out against him. In an op-ed in the Reno Gazette Journal last month, twelve of his family members wrote:
First, for those of us who were actually raised in Nevada, it’s difficult to hear him continue to falsely claim that he was raised in Nevada or has any true connections to Nevadans. The simple fact is that while he may have been born in Reno, he left as an infant and was raised on the East Coast, 3,000 miles away, in Washington, D.C., and moved here only in 2013, only one year later launching his political career. Aside from the occasional short visit, Adam never knew the state or its people. Perhaps if he had, he would stand for Nevada’s values rather than for those of his out-of-state donors.
They believed he was just using the family name to launch a political career. His grandfather, Paul Laxalt, was governor from 1967 to 1971, a U.S. Senator from 1974 to 1987, and was a close friend of Ronald Reagan’s.
His family also added that he was a crappy candidate:
Second, there is the simple question of whether Adam is qualified to head the executive branch in Nevada. His brief experience as a practicing lawyer was described as a “train wreck” by members of his own firm. His tenure in the attorney general’s office has been little more than a four-year publicity tour for his current campaign for governor — in fact, he outsourced jobs in the AG’s office to out-of-state lawyers who were given special exemptions to practice law in Nevada.
Laxalt was such a poor candidate that current Governor Brian Sandoval wouldn’t even given his fellow Republican his endorsement.
Laxalt was gracious in defeat, saying in his concession speech, “This was all of our campaign, not just my campaign. We can certainly take heart that we left it all on the field. We fought as hard as we could. To come up short is always difficult.”
He added that he would give Sisolak whatever help he needed in his ramp-up to inauguration.