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More money translates to more votes in most Nevada local government primaries

Naoka Foreman
Naoka Foreman
Carly Sauvageau
Carly Sauvageau
Election 2022Local Government
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With a few notable exceptions, candidates who were the best fundraisers were also the best performers in the primaries for Nevada’s major local government races. Here’s a look at how fundraising shook out in the first half of the year, and how financially prepared the winners are for the November general election.

North Las Vegas mayor

Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown and Democratic state Sen. Pat Spearman hold first and third place in fundraising as they vie for the top nonpartisan seat at North Las Vegas City Hall — a job that will be open after Mayor John Lee decided not to seek re-election, switched his party affiliation and unsuccessfully ran for governor as a Republican.

Goynes-Brown, who serves as the city’s mayor pro tempore, is following in the footsteps of her father Theron Goynes, who previously held the same title after serving as a councilman in the 1980s. The second-generation politician who took 37 percent of the vote in the primary reported raising nearly $84,000 last quarter — almost double the nearly $47,000 raised by Spearman, who took 17 percent of the vote.

Robert “Twixx” Taylor reported raising about $61,000, making him the fundraiser runner-up even though he only secured roughly 14 percent of the votes, or third place. Only the top two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Heading toward the general election, Spearman has nearly $58,000 in cash on hand, roughly a third of Goynes-Brown’s almost $177,000.

The two — one of whom will become not only North Las Vegas’ first Black mayor but the only Black mayor statewide — have gone toe-to-toe on complex issues such as economic development, uncertainty in the struggling Windsor Park neighborhood and veteran services in the race to lead Nevada’s diverse, fourth-largest city.

Goynes-Brown has represented Ward 2 in North Las Vegas since 2011 and has urged voters to stick with her, promising that North Las Vegas would be completely revamped in the next five to 10 years.

Spearman, the first Black, openly gay veteran to serve in the state Senate since her election in 2012, said she would immediately conduct a diversity audit of city hall and focus on economic diversification, job creation, clean energy and infrastructure once elected.

Henderson mayor

Residents of Nevada’s second-largest city, Henderson, elected city councilwoman Michelle Romero to the mayorship while incumbent Debra March unsuccessfully took a shot at the lieutenant governor seat. Romero reported raising more than $71,000 last quarter, ending with about $224,000 in cash on hand. 

She had faced Frank Ficadenti, an engineer and wealth management professional, and political newcomer Drew Dison, both of whom she defeated in the nonpartisan primary after securing more than 76 percent of the vote.

Romero won the highest seat at Henderson City Hall outright during the primary because she secured more than 50 percent of the vote.

Reno mayor

Two-term mayor of Reno Hillary Schieve raised nearly $148,000 last quarter and has about $197,000 cash on hand heading toward a general election where she could win a third and final term. 

Schieve’s campaign focused on community policing and housing, and she took nearly 40 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan primary. In November, she will face far-right Republican George “Eddie” Lorton, who raised almost $18,000 last quarter and has about $111,000 cash on hand.

Lorton unsuccessfully ran for mayor twice in the past, including in 2018 against Schieve. He advances to the general election after landing in second place, with 24 percent of the votes, during the primary this year. That is a stark contrast to 2018, when Schieve beat Lorton by about 45 points in the primary and nearly 30 points in the general election.

In her second term, Schieve has faced criticism on a number of issues, including allowing an out-of-state developer to demolish weekly motels used by low-income residents and for enforcing a curfew during the 2020 summer protests against police brutality after City Hall was vandalized.

Boulder City mayor

Veteran politician and Republican state Sen. Joe Hardy beat incumbent Kiernan McManus and newcomer Tanya Vece in Boulder City’s nonpartisan mayoral race. Hardy brought in more than $32,000 last quarter and has about $16,000 cash on hand compared to McManus' more than $8,000 haul last quarter and $508 cash on hand. Vece reported raising no money each quarter and has no cash on hand.

Hardy campaigned on tourism, saving water and managing the city's growth, similar to the other candidates, and gained 65 percent of the vote compared with McManus’ 30 percent, winning outright during the primary.

Las Vegas City Council

Ward 2

In a crowded nonpartisan race for Las Vegas City Council Ward 2, which encompasses the Summerlin area, incumbent Victoria Seaman won outright after garnering 55 percent of the vote. Last quarter, the Republican former assemblywoman reported raising nearly $44,000 and ending the period with almost $221,000 cash on hand, maintaining a big cash lead throughout the election.

U.S. Army veteran Alan Bigelow, real estate and business broker Jeff Bradshaw, Erika “Doc Smith” Smith, career firefighter Michael Tomko and Ronald McWhorter split the remaining 45 percent of ballots, with no other candidate gaining more than 17 percent of the vote.

Ward 6

Public policy expert Nancy Brune, who had a 5-point lead during the primaries, will battle Ray Spencer, the former Las Vegas police homicide unit leader, in the nonpartisan race to represent Las Vegas’ Ward 6, which encompasses the city’s northern region. 

Both political newcomers, Brune and Spencer maintained a fundraising advantage over their opponents throughout the seven-way primary. Last quarter, Spencer reported raising more than $31,000, a bit less than Brune’s $45,000, and she has about $23,000 cash on hand compared to his more than $7,000.

Ward 4

Former Councilman Bob Beers faces former Assemblywoman Francis Allen-Palenske in the race for Las Vegas City Council Ward 4, which includes the west-central part of Las Vegas. The seat is open after Stavros Anthony reached his term limit and won the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor during the primaries. 

Both are Republicans in the nonpartisan race and big earners among city council contenders across the state. Beers reported raising more than $92,000 last quarter and has about $7,000 cash on hand, while Allen-Palenske raised nearly $85,000 and has about $69,000 cash on hand. But Beers took the lead against Allen-Palenske with 37 percent of the votes in the primary, compared to her 28 percent. 

The two will face off during the general election after ending in first and second places in the four-way primary.

Clark County Commission

District E

District E incumbent Tick Segerblom, who raised nearly $135,000 last quarter and has about $245,000 cash on hand heading into the general election, bested his primary opponent Jake Macias after winning 61 percent of the vote compared to Macias’ 39 percent. Macias reported no fundraising during his campaign. 

Segerblom, a former state lawmaker, will now face Republican candidate Jonathan Rider, who reported raising no money during his campaign. Others who may be on the ballot as third-party or independent candidates are Randy Rose, Marco Hernandez and Joette Luiz. Rose is going into the general election with less than $30. Hernandez (who narrowly lost a primary challenge to Segerblom in 2018) has nearly $47,000 and Luiz has reported no fundraising for her campaign.   

District F

Political commentator Drew Johnson topped three other candidates in the Republican primary and will be taking on incumbent Justin Jones in the race for the Clark County Commission District F seat. Johnson raised nearly $122,000 last quarter and heads into the general election with about $88,000 in cash on hand, while Jones has eleven times more than Johnson, heading into the general election with nearly $1.4 million cash on hand

District G

Republican candidate Billy Mitchell, an electrical engineer and Navy veteran, will be running against incumbent and Commission Chairman James Gibson for the District G seat. Gibson raised more than $214,000 in the last quarter and is going into the general election with about $719,000 in cash on hand. Mitchell did not report any campaign fundraising. Libertarian candidate Jesse Welsh has reported no campaign fundraising. 

Local government races 

Clark County DA

Incumbent Steve Wolfson rode a heavy fundraising advantage to victory in the Democratic primary for Clark County district attorney. Wolfson raised more than $69,000 last quarter but spent almost $1.1 million to fend off a challenge from progressive Democrat and former Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo.

Fumo raised more than $72,000 last quarter and spent a little less than $79,000, but ultimately put only about a tenth of the money into the race this calendar year as Wolfson did. Wolfson captured 56 percent of the vote to Fumo’s 44 percent.

Voters will now choose between Wolfson and Republican Tim Treffinger in the general election in November, but the incumbent still dominates in fundraising and is running in a county where Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans. Wolfson has ​​nearly $238,000 cash on hand compared with a little more than $2,000 for Treffinger.

Clark County Sheriff

Even after a two-decade-old sexual misconduct allegation resurfaced, career police officer Kevin McMahill maintained a large fundraising lead in the campaign before winning the nonpartisan Clark County sheriff's race outright during the primary. 

McMahill secured almost 60 percent of the vote, fending off challenges from former undersheriff and Republican Assemblyman Tom Roberts and far-right veteran police officer Stan Hyt. McMahill reported raising more than $311,000 last quarter and ending the quarter with about $427,000 cash on hand.

That’s far above the approximately $65,000 Roberts raised last quarter before coming in second, with 24 percent of the vote.

McMahill spent about $1.2 million this calendar year on the race, about 10 times what Roberts spent.

North Las Vegas City Council

Ward 3

Republican Scott Black raised more than $57,000 last quarter in his bid for re-election and has about $16,000 cash on hand. He won the nonpartisan election outright during the primaries, taking 56 percent of the vote in a race that included two political newcomers — mental health advocate and Democrat Jovan Jackson, and Republican Mario Mitchell. 

Black has held the Ward 3 seat since 2017 and ran his campaign on public safety, diversifying the economy and branding North Las Vegas.

Ward 1

Two-term incumbent and Democrat Isaac Barron translated his fundraising advantage into a victory over Republican Lance Eliason for the North Las Vegas City Council Ward 1 seat in a nonpartisan race. Barron reported raising about $36,000 last quarter and ended the period with more than $4,000 cash on hand, while Eliason reported raising over $20,000 last quarter and ending with nearly $2,000 cash on hand.

Barron, a former educator at Rancho High School, won his re-election outright with 66 percent of the vote, warding off political newcomer Eliason, a hospital services liaison for the Nevada Donor Network and the son of a former city councilman.

Reno City Council

Ward 2

Two-term incumbent Naomi Duerr won the most votes in the nonpartisan race for Reno’s Ward 2 seat despite being outspent by Dough Boy Donuts owner Jay Kenny, who came in second and who will face her in the general election.

Duerr, who took 54 percent of the vote in the June primary, reported raising almost $26,000 last quarter and ending with nearly $104,000 cash on hand. Kenny, who won 36 percent of the vote, reported raising more than $82,000 last period and ending with almost $51,000 cash on hand. Council candidates in Reno do not win outright even if they get more than 50 percent of the vote, so the two will compete in the general election.

Kenny put significantly more resources into the primary than Duerr, spending almost $110,000 this year compared with Duerr’s $25,000.

Ward 4

First-term incumbent and veteran politician Bonnie Weber raised more than $36,000 last quarter and heads into the general election with nearly $104,000 cash on hand, holding a wide fundraising advantage over political newcomer Meghan Ebert, who reported raising more than $13,000 last quarter and has a little over $1,000 cash on hand.

Weber secured 43 percent of the vote and Ebert, who was endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Northern Nevada Central Labor Council and the Reno firefighters, won 32 percent, eliminating a third candidate — Dennis Owens — during the nonpartisan primary competition. 

Henderson City Council

Ward III

Henderson Chamber of Commerce Chair Trish Nash will face education professional Carrie Cox in November for the nonpartisan Ward III seat in Henderson. Nash reported raising more than $44,000 last quarter and has over $464,000 cash on hand, while Cox raised over $63,000 last quarter but has only about $48,000 on hand.

Nash, who received endorsements from community members and the Henderson Republican Club, captured 31 percent of the vote and Cox, who received various police association endorsements, secured 23 percent. Four other candidates were eliminated in the primary.

Washoe County Commission

District 2

Washoe County Assessor Mike Clark, who recently was ordered to pay $32,000 in legal fees and statutory damages to the county, beat incumbent Bob Lucey in the Republican primary even though Lucey had raised more campaign cash. 

Lucey raised more than $71,000 last quarter but only garnered 43 percent of the vote. Clark, who raised more than $43,000 during that period, captured 57 percent in the race. Clark will move on to the general election to face Libertarian David Michael Banuelos and Democrat Keith Lockard.

Clark heads into the general election with more than $8,000 cash on hand, compared with the nearly $7,000 raised by Lockard. Banuelos has not reported raising any funds.

District 3

Marialuz Garcia, the executive director of Dean’s Future Scholars at UNR, overcame two Democratic candidates in the primary to face Republican Denise Myer in the general election for the role of District 3 commissioner. 

Garcia raised nearly $62,000 last quarter and has more than $44,000 cash on hand. That’s far more than Myer, who raised nearly $11,000 last quarter and has just over $3,000 cash on hand.

District 5

Incumbent District 5 Commissioner Jeanne Herman, who campaigned on issues of “election integrity”, triumphed in a Republican primary and will face Democrat Edwin Lyngar in the fall. 

Herman raised almost $18,000 last quarter — about $5,000 more than Lyngar — and ended the quarter with about $567 to go into the general election.

Editor’s Note: This story appears in Indy 2022, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2022 election. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. on 7/27/22 to reflect that the Reno mayoral race in 2018 included both primary and general election contests and that nonpartisan Krysta Jackson did not qualify to appear on the general election ballot for the Washoe County Commission District 5 race.

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