NEW: Lombardo Follows Bigelow’s Lead on Trump

The Nevadan News: “Bigelow spends big on Trump, Lombardo’s tune changes”

A recent report found that Joe Lombardo cravenly reversed his position to follow the lead of his largest donor, billionaire slumlord Robert Bigelow, when it came to endorsing Donald Trump for president. Lombardo owes his governorship to Bigelow, so it’s no wonder that he apparently does Bigelow’s bidding on everything, from backing Trump to vetoing several bills that would have increased tenant protections and lowered the cost of housing. Like Trump, Lombardo is a bought-and-paid-for politician who will always prioritize his special interest donors over the wellbeing of Nevadans.

Read more about Lombardo’s ties to Bigelow and Trump below: 

The Nevadan: Are Joe Lombardo’s ties to his biggest donor problematic? It depends who you ask.

By Casey Harrison

Key points: 

  • The Las Vegas Sun reported in the runup to the 2022 midterms that Bigelow had donated upwards of $47 million to mostly Republican causes. That included roughly $25 million in contributions to several political action committees supporting Nevada GOP gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo, an unprecedented amount in a state race. Lombardo went on to become the only Republican challenger to defeat a sitting Democratic governor that year. 
  • Though tracking political spending in a relatively small state like Nevada can be difficult, experts said Bigelow’s contributions most likely amounted to record spending for a statewide race in Nevada. 
  • Lombardo’s victory — and Bigelow’s role in funding it — have drawn scrutiny from Nevada Democrats, who argue Bigelow had a rooting interest against a number of Democratic-led housing-related bills that were vetoed by the governor throughout last year’s legislative session.  
  • Neither Lombardo nor Bigelow responded to requests for comment.
  • Bigelow has also sought to expand his influence beyond Nevada, giving $20 million to Florida Gov. Ron Desantis’ failed presidential bid. He told TIME last April he could no longer support former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol: “He certainly lost me as a supporter, and as someone who would champion him. He showed that, in that particular hour, that he was no commander. He was absolutely no commander.”
  • After it became clear DeSantis would not win the Republican primary, however, Bigelow switched his support to Trump’s 2024 campaign in November. Earlier this year, Bigelow even co-chaired a fundraiser that brought in more than $50 million to a Trump-aligned Super PAC. He has also pledged more than $1 million to cover legal fees in the four criminal cases against Trump. 
  • Bigelow’s shift to supporting Trump has occurred at the same time that Lombardo has also engaged in a noticeable, if more subtle, embrace of Trump. 
  • Throughout most of the 2024 Republican presidential nomination cycle, Lombardo publicly declined to voice his support in a crowded field made up of Trump, DeSantis, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and others. Last September, Lombardo declined to endorse a Republican presidential candidate, and told The Nevada Independent he was concerned about Trump’s criminal indictments. 
  • “I can’t turn a blind eye to it,” said Lombardo, the former Clark County sheriff. “You see the polls out there, ‘If he was indicted for a felony, would you still vote for him,’ and everything that goes along with that — that hurts my core, and what I believe in.” 
  • Lombardo, however, took a substantively different stance after a New York jury convicted Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records stemming from hush-money payments made to conceal an affair with an adult film actress in the runup to the 2016 presidential election. 
  • Nevada Democrats told The Nevadan that they believe the governor’s public support of Trump occurring simultaneously with the changing tune of his largest donor is not just a coincidence.



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