Rep. Shelley Berkley’s support in Nevada in her race with incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) is unstable. It’s unstable mainly because it’s largely public sector union-based, and with the rise in discontent about public sector unions around the country – from Wisconsin to California, voters are seeking to cut pension benefits and collective bargaining power from certain public sector unions – Berkley’s reliance on public sector unions may be a net negative for her.
But there’s another question that remains unasked for Berkley’s union supporters: does Berkley’s pre-Congressional record merit union support?
Berkley, of course, was a former vice president of legal and governmental affairs for Nevada billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who famously clashed with unions at his Las Vegas properties. According to Berkley herself, Adelson “wanted to break the back of the union” – and yet she remained at the company, doing Adelson’s bidding for years on end, even pressing Adelson to give favors to judges and county officials (a request Adelson quite properly refused). Now, of course, she criticizes Adelson’s anti-union politics – but she was happy to cash his paychecks when he was pursuing those same policies in the 1990s. Before union voters in Las Vegas pull the lever for Berkley, they should ask themselves whether she’s ideologically pro-union, or whether she’s just another bought-and-paid for politician open to the highest bidder.