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Cortez Masto banks $3.3 million for Senate bid in last quarter of 2021

Jacob Solis
Jacob Solis
Government
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Senator Catherine Cortez Masto speaking into a microphone behind a podium

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) continued to pad her re-election campaign war chest through the end of 2021, raking in more than $3.3 million in the final months of the year and boosting her cash on hand to $10.4 million — a record number for any U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada entering an election year.

The sum, raised over the fourth quarter of 2021, also slightly exceeds the $3.15 million she raised in the third quarter (July through September) and is roughly $500,000 more than the $2.8 million she raised in the second quarter (April through June). 

The senator’s campaign spending was not immediately available, pending the full release of end-of-year campaign finance reports later this month. 

In a statement, Cortez Masto’s campaign touted more than 43,000 individual donors this quarter, making up nearly 41 percent of the 106,000 individual donors who have contributed to her campaign through 2021.

However, her total paled compared to the leading Democratic Senate fundraiser, Arizona’s Mark Kelly, who reported more than $9 million in fundraising and over $18.5 million cash on hand to close the year. 

Among other Democrats in competitive races, Cortez Masto's fundraising exceeded that of New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan ($3.1 million raised, $5.3 million cash on hand). Numbers for the other leading Democratic fundraiser, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, have not yet been released.

Fundraising totals for Cortez Masto’s top Republican challengers, Adam Laxalt and Sam Brown, have also not yet been released. In the third quarter, however, Cortez Masto raised more than Laxalt ($1.4 million) and Brown ($1 million) combined. 

With no major Democratic challengers arrayed against her in a primary, Cortez Masto will have no barriers to filling her campaign coffers in the run up to the general election this June. 

First elected to the body in 2016, Cortez Masto is among a handful of vulnerable Democrats looking to hold a 50-50 majority in an election year that will likely bring a number of structural advantages for Republicans compared to 2020. 

Amid a rocky COVID-addled economy and lingering cultural issues, Republicans swept off-year state-level elections across Virginia and nearly unseated the Democratic governor in deep-blue New Jersey

Over the last three months, Cortez Masto’s race shifted from “Lean Democratic” to “Toss Up” in ratings from the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, amid polling from the Republican-leaning Trafalgar Group in November showing Cortez Masto trailing Laxalt by 3 points in a hypothetical head-to-head, 44.1 percent to 40.9 percent, with a 3 percent margin of error. 

Public polls of the race have been otherwise scarce. The only other poll conducted so far, a September survey from The Nevada Independent and the Mellman Group, showed Cortez Masto up by 5 points in that same head-to-head, 45.5 percent to 42.2 percent, with a 4 percent margin of error.

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