Nevada Democrats lead Republican foes in fundraising

FILE - Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., left, speaks alongside Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., at ...

Incumbent Democrats in top-of-the-ticket races brought in hefty campaign hauls in the first three months of 2022, with most raising more than the combined totals of their potential Republican challengers, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed last week.

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto led the way by bringing in $4.4 million from January through March, far outpacing her Republican challengers. The first-term Democrat reported just under $3.8 million spending, and has $11.1 million in her campaign coffers heading in to the final seven months of her re-election bid.

On the Republican side, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt reported $1.6 million raised and more than $2.2 million in cash on hand remaining. Army veteran and small-business owner Sam Brown, meanwhile, had his third straight $1 million-plus quarter, reporting roughly $1.15 million in donations.

Those strong fundraising totals from Democrats in Nevada will be put to the test this cycle, as they are expected to face significant headwinds in the general election.

President Joe Biden’s campaign pollster John Anzalone, who also counts Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak as a client, told Politico recently that the 2022 election cycle is “the worst political environment that I’ve lived through in 30 years of being a political consultant.”

The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics has rated Nevada’s races for U.S. Senate and governor as toss ups, while handing “Leans D” grades to the races for Congressional Districts 1, 2 and 3.

Here’s a look at how the campaign fundraising totals are stacking up in Nevada’s other key races.

Governor

In the governor’s race, Sisolak reported $1.56 million in donations for the quarter. And with no serious challenger in the Democratic primary, Sisolak’s massive remaining $9.6 million war chest still has room to grow while the crowded field of 15 Republicans vying for the nomination go after each other ahead of the June 14 primary.

Leading that GOP challenger field in the fundraising race is Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who reported raising $825,000 and has just under $3 million in cash on hand.

Former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller reported $155,000 raised during the quarter and $241,000 in cash on hand going forward, while Reno attorney Joey Gilbert raised $238,000 and has $269,000 left in his campaign coffers.

Other candidates in the field are leaning more heavily on personal loans to support their campaigns.

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee raised $652,000 in the quarter, with $500,000 of that coming as a personal loan to his campaign. Lee spent by far the most of any of the Republican gubernatorial candidates, though, spending $1.2 million during the quarter, mostly on advertising.

Fred Simon reported the highest total among Republicans in the race at $1.3 million, but $1.27 million of that came from a loan to the campaign from himself; Guy Nohra reported $528,000 raised, $500,000 coming from a loan, and has $701,000 cash on hand; and Tom Heck reported $105,000 raised (almost all coming from a loan), and has $107,000 cash on hand.

Congressional District 1

The 1st Congressional District, which saw significantly boundary changes during redistricting last year, features the only significant Democratic primary of the state’s House races, with Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., facing off against progressive Amy Vilela. Titus raised $360,000 during the quarter, marking a significant uptick in fundraising efforts by the six-term Democrat. During the same period in 2020 she raised just $48,000, for example. Titus also reported spending $78,000 in this year’s first quarter, and has more than $1.1 million in cash on hand.

Vilela meanwhile reported raising roughly $112,000 last quarter and spending $101,000, and has $47,000 in cash on hand left.

The redrawn First District also makes it a more competitive seat for Republicans, and fundraising numbers put up by the trio of challengers vying for the GOP nomination show that they see a chance to flip the seat that has long been seen as safe for Democrats.

Republican David Brogg had the highest total of the bunch, raising $284,000, $50,000 of which came from a personal loan. Carolina Serrano, a former Trump campaign employee, posted similar totals by raising $283,000 for the quarter, with no loans. Retired U.S. Army Col. Mark Robertson raised $176,000, with about $60,000 of that coming from a loan to the campaign.

The three Republicans have similar remaining cash, with $264,000 for Brogg, $262,000 for Serrano, and $237,000 for Robertson.

Former U.S. Rep Cresent Hardy did not file a first quarter fundraising report. His campaign did not formally file his candidacy paperwork with the Federal Election Commission until April 15.

Congressional District 3

Third District Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., led the state’s congressional delegation by raising $571,000 during the quarter. She has $2.1 million in cash on hand.

Republican April Becker led the GOP primary field, raising $180,000 compared to John Kovacs’ $63,000, and $94,000 from Noah Malgeri, with the latter two raising the majority of those funds through personal loans. Becker has $450,000 in cash on hand going forward.

Congressional District 4

In the Fourth District, Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., reported $510,000 raised, $240,000 spent and roughly $450,000 in cash on hand.

Among Republicans, Mesquite Assemblywoman Annie Black posted the highest fundraising hauls with $327,000. Sam Peters raised less at $135,000, but his $135,000 spent significantly outpaced Black’s $35,000 spending.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ColtonLochhad on Twitter.