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Dem groups spent millions to meddle in GOP primaries, bash Lombardo

Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
Campaign FinanceElection 2022
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Groups affiliated with Gov. Steve Sisolak and other prominent Nevada Democrats were the financial backers of organizations that spent millions to drag down Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and other more moderate Republicans ahead of the state’s June primary.

Campaign finance reports released Friday show that Home Means Nevada — a political action committee set up by Sisolak’s 2018 campaign apparatus and headed by prominent Democratic political strategist Rebecca Lambe — contributed $685,000 to Patriot Freedom Fund, a recently created political action committee that ran web and radio ads and sent dozens of mailers attacking Lombardo from the right on issues such as guns and abortion.

The group’s mailers included a spoof “Republican Primary Ballot Guide” that mimicked the design of a sample ballot and directed recipients to vote for “anyone but Joe Lombardo.”

Democrats in other states, including California, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Illinois all adopted similar tactics to boost far-right Republican candidates, under the assumption that general-election voters will oppose more extreme candidates.

Because the PAC was registered with the secretary of state’s office in May (after the first quarter fundraising deadline), it did not have to reveal contributions or spending until nearly a month after the primary.

Its listed officer is Truman Fleming, a Las Vegas-based real estate agent previously married to Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas). Fleming and Jauregui filed for divorce in April 2022.

The state Republican Party and several candidates, including Lombardo, urged voters to ignore messaging from Patriot Freedom Fund. In late May, the Republican National Committee sent the PAC a cease and desist letter saying it violated trademark infringement by including an image of the organization’s elephant logo.

Lombardo won the GOP primary for governor over Reno attorney Joey Gilbert, whom the PAC supported. It also backed attorney general candidate Sigal Chattah and secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant — both of whom won their primary races against more moderate opponents.

Patriot Freedom Fund also received $90,000 from a PAC (Leadership in Nevada) previously affiliated with former Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, a Democrat, and now run by Democratic political consultant Megan Jones.

Home Means Nevada also reported transferring $1.5 million to A Stronger Nevada, another recently organized PAC that spent millions of dollars on TV advertisements attacking Lombardo for being “more worried about his public image than his public safety.” A Stronger Nevada also reported receiving $4.6 million from the Democratic Governors Association, and spending a total of $4.7 million.

Both Home Means Nevada and Leadership in Nevada also made sizable contributions to the organization set up to oppose an open primaries, ranked-choice ballot measure. That group, Protect Your Vote Nevada, raised $1.275 million in the second quarter, including $50,000 from Home Means Nevada and $60,000 from Leadership in Nevada.

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