Nevada megadonor switches focus from UFOs to politics

Source: Hot Air

The gubernatorial race in Nevada is among the tightest in the nation at the moment. Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak is being challenged by Republican Joe Lombardo and the RCP polling average identifies the race as being dead even this week. Recent polls have either reflected that 50-50 split or given one of the men a one to two-point lead. That may be somewhat surprising when you consider that Sisolak has outraised Lombardo by a nearly ten-to-one split in contributions. That’s starting to change this month, however, as a new, major donor has jumped into the game. Billionaire entrepreneur Robert Bigelow has started pumping money into Lombardo’s coffers at a massive clip, primarily through PACs that support the challenger. Thus far he has given nearly six million dollars to the effort. The source of Bigelow’s wealth and the things he has previously spent his fortune on caught the attention of the Associated Press this week.

Robert Bigelow, a Las Vegas-based hotel magnate, has always had a cause.

For decades, he invested his hotel profits into UFO research, creating his own aerospace company while lobbying senators to fund additional research. More recently, he offered nearly $1 million in prizes for a contest to show consciousness after death, part of his newer interest in the afterlife.

Now Bigelow, 78, has become the largest donor this cycle in Nevada’s midterm gubernatorial race, donating $5.7 million through his companies to the campaign for Nevada GOP gubernatorial nominee Joe Lombardo and to political action committees supporting him.

You may not be familiar with Bob Bigelow’s name unless you’re heavily into either real estate or UFOs. Does that sound like an odd combination? Yes, it probably does, but it’s accurate in this case. Bigelow made his fortune as the man who launched Budget Suites of America, a discount hotel chain that swept across the nation after he founded the company.

Bigelow’s vast wealth gave him the opportunity to pursue his true passions, outer space and the search for UFOs and other paranormal phenomena. He founded Bigelow Aerospace and later invented an inflatable space habitat module. One of them is currently attached to the International Space Station, and Bigelow hopes to get into the space tourism game by establishing a “hotel in space,” perhaps in partnership with SpaceX.

Bigelow’s interest in UFOs dates back quite a way as well. You may recall our coverage of the Pentagon’s early UFO investigation program known as AAWSAP, the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program. Senator Harry Reid procured $22 million to fund that program and the money went to Bob Bigelow’s company. He has more recently begun researching theories of human consciousness surviving physical death, offering large cash prizes to researchers who could produce testing that supports the concept.

So what does all of this have to do with the Nevada governor’s race? Well, pretty much nothing as far as I can tell. He’s just a wealthy person that leans conservative and has vocally opposed many of Governor Sisolak’s policies. He objected to the eviction moratorium in Nevada, which he described as “legalized theft.” He also railed against the forced closure of businesses at the start of the pandemic. That policy reportedly did significant damage to the prospects for Bigelow Aerospace along with many other companies. He has described liberalism as a cancer and promoted policies focusing on honesty in government and “a philosophy of free enterprise and freedom for everybody.”

All in all, he sounds like a pretty good fit for the GOP and someone not inclined to wokeness. The man has money to burn and he’s spending it in Nevada. We shall see if it’s enough to tip the scales in Lomboardo’s favor.