Nevada’s U.S. Senate candidates brought in significant portions of their latest fundraising hauls from out-of-state donors large and small, according to a new analysis by The Nevada Independent.
Although the totals have been known for several months, it’s difficult to do any in-depth analysis of campaign finance reports reports submitted by U.S. Senate candidates, as they are specifically exempted from electronically filing their reports to the FEC.
What that means is that unlike U.S. House and presidential campaigns, which file their reports online and are able to be searched, U.S. Senate candidates file their reports by mail, requiring the FEC to first upload a document that can run hundreds of pages and then enter the information in by hand.
In a partnership with The Nevada Independent, George Washington University student Jeremy Marsh detailed and tracked the nearly 3,000 itemized contributions reported by Sen. Dean Heller, Danny Tarkanian and Rep. Jacky Rosen throughout the last three-month fundraising period.
Rosen reported raising $1.56 million over the last quarter of 2017, a period running from October to the end of December 2017. Heller, the incumbent raised $820,000 over the fundraising period.
Republican Danny Tarkanian, who made a last-minute switch from the Senate race to the state’s 3rd Congressional District amid a Twitter boost from President Donald Trump in March, reported raising more than $231,000 over the same time period.
The analysis indicates that Rosen dominated with smaller contributions, but took in substantially more money than either Heller or Tarkanian from out-of-state campaign donors.
On average, Rosen received the smallest average contribution of the three candidates — $370 per campaign donor. Tarkanian’s average contribution was $989 and the average contributor to Heller gave $1,497. Rosen’s low average contribution is bolstered by the candidate’s use of ActBlue — an online fundraising software that includes all contributions, no matter the size, as itemized.
But the Democrat drew most of her campaign donors from out of state — only about 11 percent of her itemized donations came from Nevada contributors, with the rest coming from out of state. About 52 percent of Heller’s itemized donations came from Nevada residents, and a full 66 percent of Tarkanian’s donors lived in the state as well.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has criticized Rosen’s California and New York donors as evidence of her support for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Jacky Rosen sold out Nevadans to support Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s radical agenda, and win over their liberal donors,” NRSC spokesman Michael McAdams said in a February statement.
Rosen took in a relatively massive $418,750 in unitemized (under $200) donations. She received $921,383 in itemized donations ($819,723 from out-of-state donors, compared to $101,660 from Nevada contributors), and $119,430 from PACs.
Rosen campaign spokesman Stewart Boss said in a statement that the congresswoman received an average contribution of $67 when accounting for all unitemized donations (which, again, are not reported to the FEC), with more than 95 percent of her more than 23,000 donations coming in at under $100.
“Jacky Rosen’s strong fundraising includes donations from supporters in nearly every county in Nevada,” he said in an email. “Our grassroots campaign has outraised Senator Heller two quarters in a row, and it’s clear that the momentum is on our side to win this race and flip this seat in November. “
She received 145 donations of $2,700 (for a total of $391,500), the maximum amount a single person or business is allowed to give to a single candidate per election. She took more than $529,000 from donors who contributed less than $2,700.
Donors from New York also made up the largest chunk of Rosen’s donors geographically, with the Democrat taking in just over $203,000 in contributions from the state. She also took in $185,620 from California contributors, and Nevada donors came in third with residents contributing $101,660 to the Democrat.
Heller’s largest source of funds during the quarter came from PACs, which in total contributed $334,800 of his total haul. The incumbent Republican also took in $246,000 from in-state sources, and another $226,424 from out-of-state donors. Unitemized donations for Heller — contributions under $200, which under FEC rules don’t have to disclose their source — accounted for $11,762 of Heller’s fundraising haul, the smallest of the three candidates.
Heller’s largest fundraising state was Nevada ($246,600), but he also received large sums from New York ($54,250), Texas ($29,850) and Maryland ($26,200). He received 106 of the maximum $2,700 donations (good for $286,300), and he received more than $186,000 from donors who gave under the maximum allowed (Individuals and corporations are barred from donating more than $2,700 to a single candidate per election).
Tarkanian reported raising more than $70,000 from unitemized small-dollar donors, while taking in just over $177,00 in itemized contributions and $7,500 from PACs. He took 37 donations of $2,700, good for $99,900, and just over $77,000 in contributions from donors who gave less than the maximum amount.
Tarkanian brought in $117,465 from Nevada donors. His other top contributing states were California ($20,880) and Florida ($13,374).
The next FEC reports, covering January through the end of March 2018, are required to be turned in by April 15.