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U.S. Senate candidate and Rep. Jacky Rosen talks to members of the Churchill County Democrats on Wednesday, August 22, 2018. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

 By Jeremy Marsh

Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen continued her fundraising advantage over Republican Sen. Dean Heller, raising more than three times his quarterly total during the last three months according to a Nevada Independent analysis of the most recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports.

From July 1 to September 30, Rosen raised $7.06 million compared to Heller’s haul of $2.19 million.

The candidates have roughly the same amount of cash on hand, Heller with $2.7 million and Rosen with $2.6 million. With only a few valuable weeks until the Nov. 6 election, both campaigns and outside groups will spend millions to mobilize and persuade Nevada voters.

For the first time, the FEC required Senate candidates to file their reports electronically. This enabled analysis to be done instantly, instead of waiting weeks for the reports to be digitized.

Fifty-six percent of Rosen’s money this quarter came from itemized donations, while 30 percent came from unitemized donations (those under $200). However, Rosen’s reliance on fundraising tools such as ActBlue means that many small-dollar donations to her campaign were itemized.

Political Action Committees and authorized committee transfers accounted for 14 percent of Rosen’s quarterly total.

Heller relied slightly more from PACs and committees, with 21 percent of his money coming from these groups. Sixty-one percent of Heller’s quarterly haul came from itemized donations, while 18 percent came from unitemized contributions.

Consistent with previous quarters, Rosen relied less on maximum allowable donations compared to Heller. Twenty-five percent of her itemized total came from maximum donations, compared to 42 percent of Heller’s.

Heller’s average itemized donation was $428. Rosen had a much smaller average itemized donation: $180.

Per Rosen’s campaign, “More than 95 percent of contributions to the campaign this cycle have been $100 or less, and the campaign’s average contribution is $54.”

Ninety percent of Rosen’s itemized donations this quarter came from out of state. Her best state was California, where almost $1.1 million or about 27 percent, of her itemized total originated.

Next was New York, which accounted for 13 percent of her itemized haul. Nevada came in third, with 10 percent of her quarterly total.

Her fourth and fifth largest source of fundraising were Massachusetts and Washington, where respectively 9 and 5 percent of her itemized donations originated. Her top five cities for fundraising were major metropolitan areas. They were, in order, New York; Las Vegas; San Francisco;  Washington, D.C.; and Seattle.

Heller relied much more on Nevada-based donors this quarter. $525,703, almost 40 percent of his itemized total, came from residents of the Silver State.

His second best state was California, source of more than $161,000 in itemized donations. Texas was third, where about 7 percent of his quarterly itemized total came from, while Florida came in fourth with 5 percent and Ohio in fifth with 3 percent.

Heller’s top five cities for itemized donations were all in Nevada. In order, they were Las Vegas, Reno, Henderson, Incline Village, and Glenbrook. In fact, seven of his 10 best fundraising cities were in Nevada.

Independent Expenditures

Perhaps just as important as candidate fundraising is spending by outside groups.  By law, independent expenditures are not allowed to be made in coordination with a political campaign or political party.

An analysis of independent expenditure filings since July 1 shows that Democratic groups are outspending Republican ones to influence Nevada’s key Senate race.

The analysis of FEC filings reveals that Democratic groups have spent more than $23 million in support of Rosen and in opposition to Heller.  Republican groups have spent just over $15 million to support Heller and oppose Rosen.

The biggest spender over the last three months was the Sen. Mitch McConnell-affiliated Senate Leadership Fund.  The super PAC has spent just over $8 million in the state since July on TV ads, online advertising, radio spots, and direct mailers.

It’s Democratic counterpart, the Sen. Chuck Schumer-aligned Senate Majority PAC, was the second largest spender. It spent more than $6.5 million on the race on TV and online advertising.

The third largest group was the National Republican Senate Committee, which spent $4.7 million in support of Heller.  Fourth, with $3.6 million was the Democratic Super PAC Majority Forward, which is closely affiliated with the Senate Majority PAC.

Rounding out the top five was the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which spent $3.2 million on TV ads to attack Heller since July.

When taking into account all independent expenditures, the most common type of spending was the production and placement of television ads.

Employers

One of the pieces of information required when making a donation to a political candidate is the donor’s employer. While many are listed as unemployed or retired, there are some employers that feature prominently.

For Rosen, the most frequently listed employer was Google. Employers of the tech giant contributed nearly $30,000 to her campaign.

Next, was the University of California system. Professors and employees of California’s premier public universities donated $27,500 to Rosen’s Senate campaign.

In third place was Palo Alto-based Facebook. Engineers of the world’s largest social media company gave Rosen $8,000 during the last quarter.

The most common types of employers for Rosen donors were universities, tech companies, financial institutions, and law firms.

Heller’s top donors were largely from real estate and financial services companies.

Brokers of Coldwell Banker, the New Jersey-based real estate company, donated the most to Heller’s reelection campaign: $12,500.

Next, with $8,100 each was employees from Detroit-based Quicken Loans and Cincinnati- based American Financial Group.

Rounding out the top five with $5,500 each was employees from the Austin, Tex. based Keller Williams Real Estate and executives from Altos Sonoma Corporation, a Bay Area-based business services firm.

Expenses

Rosen’s fundraising lead over Heller enabled her to outspend him during these final, critical months. The expenses were analyzed and categorized, excluding contribution refunds.

Rosen spent about $8.5 million during this last quarter. Most of her spending, almost $7 million, went to ad production and media buys.

The second largest expenditure was staff salaries. About 6.2 percent, more than $528,000 was spent to compensate Rosen’s large campaign team.

Heller spent about $5.4 million over the last three months. Like Rosen, his largest expense was advertising-related. Almost 74 percent of his spending went towards ad production and media buys according to the FEC filings.

The other significant source of spending was consultants.  Around 11 percent, $607,000, of the Heller campaign spending went towards various types of consultants.

Jeremy Marsh is a student at George Washington University and an occasional contributor to The Nevada Independent.

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