Election 2024

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Candidates backed by Lombardo or Democratic caucuses locked in close fundraising battle

The fundraising lead is split in the 10 competitive races where both parties’ establishments have endorsed candidates.
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Election 2024Legislature

The legislative fundraising battle is tight between GOP candidates backed by Gov. Joe Lombardo and their likely general election opponents supported by the Democratic establishment.

The Nevada Independent identified 10 legislative elections that are expected to be competitive in the general election — based on voter registration data and past results — and have establishment-backed candidates in both parties. In these races, there is an even split of contests in which the Lombardo-backed candidates raised more money from January through March and races where the Democratic candidate had a fundraising lead. 

Some of these candidates still have to prevail in their June primary race, but establishment-backed candidates have an early fundraising lead, giving them a leg up in their races.

The stakes are high — Democrats control 13 seats in the 21-member state Senate (one short of a two-thirds supermajority needed to override a veto) and 28 seats — a supermajority — in the 42-member Assembly. The outcome of a few key races could change whether Lombardo’s ability to veto bills stands.

Read below for highlights of noteworthy races based on campaign finance reports due last week, which offer the last comprehensive glimpse of the fundraising picture before the June primary:

Incumbent behind in fundraising

In Senate District 11, which includes portions of southwestern Las Vegas, Republican Lori Rogich raised $96,300 more than incumbent Sen. Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas), who is seeking her second full term after she was first appointed to the seat in 2018 and who raised about $63,000 during the first quarter.

Rogich’s notable donations, which contributed to a haul of more than $159,300, include a maximum $10,000 donation from Miriam Adelson, a prominent Republican donor who owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal and has an estimated net worth of $32 billion. A pro-Lombardo political action committee, Nevada Way PAC, also donated $5,000 to Rogich’s campaign alongside $5,000 from Sen. Robin Titus (R-Wellington).

Harris’s haul was supported by a $10,000 donation from Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager’s (D-Las Vegas) Nevada Strong PAC, a $10,000 contribution from Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D-North Las Vegas), $5,000 from Sen. Roberta Lange (D-Las Vegas) and $5,000 from the pro-Democrat New Day Nevada PAC.

Heading into the primary, Rogich, an attorney who served as co-chair of Lombardo’s education transition committee and is married to prominent consultant Sig Rogich, has about $279,600 in cash on hand, while Harris has more than $183,700. So far, Rogich has outspent Harris, reporting about $43,800 in campaign expenses to the $16,100 Harris has spent. Harris is not facing a primary challenger, though Rogich will face Brian Martin Paonessa (who raised less than $2,000 in the quarter) in the district’s Republican primary.

Republicans view this Democratic-leaning district as an opportunity to flip a state Senate seat. However, name recognition matters in legislative elections.

Narrowest fundraising difference

The closest fundraising difference between Lombardo-backed and Democratic Caucus-backed candidates came in the open Assembly District 35, a district that covers parts of southwest Las Vegas and is being vacated by Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow (D-Las Vegas). 

In the fundraising battle, Democratic business owner Sharifa Wahab raised more than $26,700 during the first quarter, while Republican Dr. Rebecca Edgeworth raised more than $27,800.

Edgeworth received $5,000 from the pro-Lombardo Nevada Way PAC, $2,500 from the Clark County Firefighters PAC and $1,500 from NEV MED Political Action. She also received $1,000 donations from Republican Assemblymembers Melissa Hardy, Brian Hibbetts, Heidi Kasama, Greg Hafen and Bert Gurr.

Wahab received $10,000 from Lange, $2,000 from Yeager, $1,000 from Assemblyman Duy Nguyen (D-Las Vegas), $1,000 from Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) and $1,000 from Assemblywoman Erica Mosca (D-Las Vegas).

Edgeworth has $51,000 in cash on hand, and Wahab has about $20,800. Edgeworth reported spending more than $7,500 while Wahab reported about $515 in expenses.

Neither candidate is facing a primary.

Recovery advocate posts six-figure haul

The race for Assembly District 4 — open because Assemblyman Richard McArthur (R-Las Vegas) is running for Senate District 18 — offers a pickup opportunity for Democrats.

Democrats have hitched their wagons to Ryan Hampton, a political newcomer who served as an aide to former President Bill Clinton and has led many addiction recovery campaigns (Hampton is in recovery from a decade-long opioid addiction).

Hampton reported raising $125,000 in the first quarter and has more than $200,000 in cash on hand. His haul included donations from addiction recovery groups — We Stand for Recovery ($10,000) and Get Help ($8,000) — and legislators, including $2,000 each from Jauregui and Yeager. He also received $10,000 from a California law firm that has filed opioid litigation.

Meanwhile, Lisa Cole, a conservative businesswoman backed by Lombardo, raised around $51,000 in the first quarter and has around $88,000 in cash on hand. She received $2,500 from the Nevada Way PAC, another $2,500 from the Clark County Firefighters PAC and $1,000 each from Kasama and Assemblywoman Alexis Hansen (R-Sparks).

In the northwestern Las Vegas district, nonpartisans make up the largest share of registered voters, while Republicans have a narrow voter registration advantage over Democrats. 

Without any primary challengers, both candidates will advance to the general election.

Tides turn in Assembly District 37

Earlier this year, the GOP groups pounced on a fundraising lead in Democrat-controlled Assembly District 37.

Republican David Brog in 2023 more than doubled the fundraising haul of incumbent Assemblywoman Shea Backus (D-Las Vegas). A Lombardo-affiliated PAC tweeted that Brog was “well-positioned to flip this crucial seat.”

Three months later, the tides have shifted.

Backus reported raising $63,000 in the first quarter, buoyed by a $10,000 donation from a PAC led by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) and $25,000 from other legislators, including Yeager and state Sen. Fabian Doñate (D-Las Vegas). She reported  around $140,000 in cash on hand.

Brog, who is running unopposed in the June primary, reported raising $32,000 in the first quarter and has around $130,000 in cash on hand. He received $10,000 from Miriam Adelson and $2,500 from the Nevada Way PAC. 

The race is likely to be close. Backus won her 2022 race by around 800 votes and lost the same race in 2020 by a similar margin. Democrats have a slight voter registration advantage in the Summerlin-area district.

Six remaining districts

In the six other competitive districts, five incumbents running for re-election far outraised the candidate backed by the opposite party who will likely face them in the general election. 

Assembly District 29, which is open after Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen (D-Las Vegas) announced she would not run for re-election, the Lombardo-backed Republican candidate, Annette Dawson Owens, outraised Democrat Joe Dalia by nearly $12,000. 

Dalia reported raising more than $13,200 during the first quarter, compared to Dawson Owens’ almost $25,200. However, Dalia spent $2,500 more in campaign expenses and had a war chest of nearly $123,200 in cash on hand heading into the primary, while Dawson Owens had about $51,000 in cash on hand.

Dawson Owens’ received $500 each from Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill (R-Carson City) and Assemblyman Ken Gray (R-Dayton). She also received $2,500 from the Nevada Way PAC, $5,000 from the M Resort and $500 from the Nevadans for Integrity in Politics PAC, which is a PAC registered with former Sen. Keith Pickard (R-Henderson).

Dalia received $2,500 from a PAC associated with Laborers Local 872, $2,500 from Southwest Gas, $1,000 from Assemblywoman Elaine Marzola (D-Henderson), $1,000 from New Day Nevada PAC and $1,000 from former state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse (D-Henderson).

In other competitive Southern Nevada legislative races:

  • In Southern Nevada’s Senate District 5, represented by Sen. Carrie Buck (R-Henderson), Buck raised nearly $53,000, outraising Senate Democratic Caucus-backed candidate Jennifer Atlas by more than $12,700. 
  • Marzola raised about $44,500, about $30,000 more than the Lombardo-backed Republican candidate April Arndt in Las Vegas’ Assembly District 21. 
  • Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) raised about $62,000, outraising Republican Rafael Arroyo by nearly $48,500 in Southern Nevada’s Assembly District 41. 

In the only Northern Nevada district where a Lombardo-backed candidate is preparing to square off against a Democratic incumbent — Assembly District 25 — Assemblywoman Selena La Rue Hatch (D-Reno), raised $16,200 more than her Republican challenger, Diana Sande. The district, which includes portions of southwestern Reno, is considered a swing district.

Kasama reported raising nearly $153,000 more than her Democratic challenger, businessman Ronald Nelsen, who only reported raising $2,100. Nelsen announced his bid on March 15, two weeks before the fundraising quarter ended. The majority of the funding Kasama reported raising came in the form of a $129,200 refund from a super PAC that she had donated to before dropping her congressional bid in favor of running for re-election.

Editor’s note: This story is part of Indy Elections, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2024 elections. Sign up for the newsletter here


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