From surprising resignations to damaging ethics charges, the
Nevada election year past included plenty of game-changing events
and memorable moments in politics.
U.S. SENATE RACE
U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., was weighed down by a House Ethics Committee investigation of her advocacy on kidney health issues that might have benefited her husband, Dr. Larry Lehrner, a nephrologist. In the end, the panel cleared Berkley of any unethical behavior when it came to fighting to keep a kidney transplant center open at University Medical Center, where her husband's business had a contract. But the committee did find she violated House rules and its code of conduct by allowing her staff to make calls to federal agencies on behalf of her husband's medical practice to collect unpaid bills in four instances. It's something her office did for other doctors, however, so the panel said he wasn't offered any "special favors."
Berkley declared herself vindicated, but it was too late. The final Ethics Committee report came out on Dec. 20, more than six weeks after the Nov. 6 election that she lost to U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson became the nation's record high political donor, contributing as much as $150 million to Republican candidates and causes. First he bankrolled a political action committee backing GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich. Then he switched to backing a PAC for Mitt Romney's failed campaign to defeat President Barack Obama. In between, Adelson gave a ton of money to political organizations that softened up Berkley to help Heller win the Senate, one of the few winners the Sands boss picked in 2012.
Would he do it again? He told the Wall Street Journal he'll contribute twice as much next time around.
Las Vegas businessman Danny Tarkanian, a Republican, started the race for Nevada's new 4th Congressional District seat ahead in the opinion polls but facing an uphill battle to win a Democratic- leaning district.
Steven Horsford, the former state Senate majority leader, had his own challenges, including raising his profile in a district that covered parts of his home Clark County and all or part of six rural counties.
Then came a $17 million judgment against Tarkanian and his family in a California real estate deal gone bad. The details almost didn't matter - Tarkanian said he and his family were duped by a shady developer - because the case let his opponents portray him as a bad businessman with poor judgment. Even his name recognition couldn't save him: He's the son of former University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian and Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian.
Horsford won, becoming Nevada's first black congressman.
REID'S WRECKING BALL
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., ran a scorched-earth campaign against Romney to help Obama win Nevada and re-election to the White House. The Senate majority leader made headlines by accusing Romney of not paying taxes for 10 years. With no evidence, Reid cited an unnamed source who invested in Bain Capital, a private equity company Romney founded.
The constant accusations by Reid, the Obama campaign and others finally forced Romney to release a letter from his tax accountant
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