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Casino Executives Split Support

Casino owners backed different candidates than did unions. (Reuters)

By Paul Kane
Barack Obama had the backing of the biggest union in Las Vegas -- the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 -- and Hillary Rodham Clinton had the backing of female voters in Nevada.

But the chief executives of the casinos that hosted nine caucus precincts along the city's "Strip" divided their support mostly among other presidential candidates, not the two largest vote getters in the casino caucus sites.

Terrence Lanni, president and CEO of MGM Mirage, which hosted four of the casino caucus sites, is a member of the national finance committee raising money for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). He and his wife gave more than $4,000 to McCain's campaign.

Steve Wynn, the top executive of the Wynn casino, which hosted one precinct, gave two checks of $2,300 a piece to the now defunct campaign of Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.).

The CEO of Harrah's Entertainment Inc., Gary Loveman, had not contributed to any presidential campaign through the first nine months of 2007, according to CQMoneyLine's analysis of presidential contributions.

But the former president of Harrah's, Phillip Satre, as well as another company executive, former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones, are among Clinton's most prominent supporters in Nevada. Obama received $4,600 from other Harrah's executives. And Charles Atwood, the company's chief operating officer, gave $2,100 to the campaign of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R).

Sheldon Adelson is the billionaire owner of the only non-union casino on the Strip, the Venetian, which did not host a casino precinct. Adelson is a supporter of former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, giving $2,300 to his presidential campaign on Sept. 30.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 19, 2008; 5:26 PM ET
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