Education advocate and philanthropist Susie Lee raised more than $550,000 in the first three months of 2018 in her run for the 3rd Congressional District seat and has more than $1 million in the bank, according to early fundraising numbers released by her campaign.
The haul eclipses what Lee, a Democrat, raised in the last three months of 2017 by about $165,000. Lee has also added about $400,000 to her war chest — which was about $600,000 at the end of December — ahead of what is likely to be an easy primary but a difficult general election.
Though Lee has a handful of primary challengers in the race to represent the largely suburban Las Vegas district stretching from Summerlin to the southern tip of the state, none have come close to matching her fundraising totals. Democrat Jack Love raised a little less than $14,000 last year and ended December with a little more than $10,000 in the bank.
Other than in-kind contributions of less than $2,000, Lee did not loan or contribute personal funds to her campaign in the first three months of the year, and only contributed about $1,880 last year. Lee loaned herself $655,000 and contributed another $23,000 in her 2016 campaign.
None of the Republican candidates in the race have yet reported their fundraising totals for the first three months of the year, although businessman Danny Tarkanian’s campaign said in late March that he had raised $450,000 since the beginning of the year and had about $700,000 cash on hand. Tarkanian was planning on running for the U.S. Senate — a race that typically requires much more cash than a congressional bid — until President Trump personally asked him to clear the Republican primary field for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and run for Congress instead.
But it’s still a crowded race on the Republican side in the 3rd District, with state Sen. Scott Hammond, former television reporter Michelle Mortensen and former Clark County Republican Party Chair David McKeon also vying for the party’s nomination. Hammond raised $152,000 last year and ended December with a little less than $70,000 in the bank, Mortensen raised $81,000 and had $78,000 saved up and McKeon raised $56,000 with a little under $11,000 in the bank.
Democrat Jacky Rosen, a former synagogue leader who also worked in computer science, is vacating the 3rd Congressional District seat to challenge Heller in 2018. She beat Tarkanian for the seat — in which Democrats currently have a narrow, 7,000-person voter registration advantage over Republicans — by about 1.3 percentage points in 2016.