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Senate race brings in millions, congressional incumbents maintain hefty cash leads

Sean Golonka
Sean Golonka
Jannelle Calderon
Jannelle Calderon
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Michelle Rindels
Michelle Rindels
Jacob Solis
Jacob Solis
Humberto Sanchez
Humberto Sanchez
Campaign FinanceElection 2022Legislature
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Senator Catherine Cortez Masto speaking into a microphone behind a podium

Nevada’s congressional incumbents led their respective fields in fundraising during the first quarter of a contentious midterm election year, even as several Republican challengers made major strides in the money races.

Sitting atop the group was Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), who raised a Nevada first quarter record $4.4 million from January 1 through March 31. But the vulnerable Senate Democrat faces two Republican challengers who each raised more than a million dollars during the quarter.

The latest campaign finance reports, filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) earlier this week, provided the first look at how Nevada’s federal delegates are faring against their finalized slate of competitors, since the candidate filing period concluded in mid-March.

Candidates for statewide, legislative and local government positions also submitted their campaign finance reports with the Nevada secretary of state on the same timeline. 

Below, we explore the latest fundraising and spending data, which gives an overview of who is in the strongest financial position ahead of the June primary.

Senate

Catherine Cortez Masto (D-incumbent)

Cortez Masto continued to stretch a fundraising lead over the field of possible Republican opponents in the first quarter, banking $4.4 million, spending more than $3.8 million, and entering the second quarter with nearly $11.1 million cash on hand. 

Most of the senator’s fundraising, nearly $4.1 million, came from individual contributions, with an additional $310,000 stemming from political action committee (PAC) contributions. 

Cortez Masto also spent massive chunks of money on advertising for the first time this cycle, including more than $1 million on a March television ad blitz, and more than $1.1 million more on list acquisitions — information and email addresses of donors or supporters to a certain campaign. 

Adam Laxalt (R)

Among Republicans, the former attorney general opened up a fundraising lead with a haul of more than $1.6 million, a slight increase from the average $1.38 million he raised through the last two quarters of 2021, but still far short of the incumbent Cortez Masto. 

Laxalt also spent just over $1 million, and entered the final weeks of the primary campaign with $2.2 million cash on hand. 

Laxalt spent comparatively less on advertising this quarter than his rivals, with the largest expenses coming from a “media advertising” buy in February that combined for $115,000 and another $44,000 spread across two digital ad campaigns in January and March. 

Most of Laxalt’s fundraising, roughly $1.5 million, came from individual contributions, while another $78,000 came from PACs. 

Sam Brown (R)

The Republican veteran and businessman reported a third-straight quarter of seven-figure fundraising with more than $1.1 million raised, $1.2 million spent and nearly $680,000 left in cash on hand. 

Brown likewise ramped up advertising spending in the first quarter, including dropping more than $158,000 combined on seven advertising expenses between January and March, another $44,000 on radio advertising and $8,000 on several digital campaigns.

Others

Two additional Republican candidates have also raised into the five- and six-figure dollar amounts, but they still lag far behind the two leaders — Laxalt and Brown. 

That includes health care executive Bill Hockstedler, who reported raising nearly $112,000 (virtually all loans from himself), spending $6,000, and has $116,000 on hand; and former pageant winner Sharelle Mendenhall — who raised close to $20,000, spent nearly $25,000 and has roughly $5,000 on hand. 

District 1

Dina Titus (D-incumbent)

Titus reported raising more than $360,000 in the first three months of 2022 — nearly $90,000 more than she brought in during the fourth quarter of 2021 — as she faces a primary from the left in a district that has become more competitive.

In the first quarter, she spent $78,000. Her largest expenses include roughly $17,000 on polling services and $12,000 on fundraising consulting. Titus was left with $1.12 million cash on hand. 

Amy Vilela (D)

Amy Vilela, a progressive Democrat who identifies with the Bernie Sanders movement, raised 

Nearly $112,000 in the first quarter.

Vilela reported spending about $101,000, which is about 90 percent of what she raised during the fundraising period. Vilela is left with nearly $47,000 cash on hand. 

Mark Robertson (R)

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Mark Robertson raised more than $176,000 in the first quarter, including a nearly $60,000 loan to himself. 

Robertson reported spending $112,000 in the first three months of 2022, including about $41,000 in printing services and $2,500 in advertising aimed at the Hispanic community. He has slightly more than $236,000 cash on hand. 

Carolina Serrano (R)

Former Latinos for Trump leader Carolina Serrano raised nearly $283,000 during the first quarter, all from individual contributors. 

Serrano spent a little more than $78,000 from January through March, including roughly $23,000 with Targeted Victory, a campaign text messaging service. She was left with nearly $262,000 cash on hand.

David Brog (R)

Conservative activist David Brog raised $284,000 in the six weeks after announcing his bid for candidacy in mid-February, including a $50,000 loan from himself. Among the contributors, about 18 gave the maximum amount of $2,900. 

Brog spent almost $21,000, including more than $5,000 on mail advertising. He is left with nearly $263,600 cash on hand.

Cresent Hardy (R)

Former Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-NV), who made a surprise entry into the race in mid-March, didn't file a first quarter fundraising report. His campaign did not officially register with the Federal Election Commission until April 15, a sign that he did not raise any money for the race in the first quarter of 2022.

District 2

Mark Amodei (R-incumbent)

Rep. Mark Amodei raised over $152,000 in the first quarter of 2022 — nearly $52,000 more than he raised last quarter — as he faces a primary from the right in a safely Republican district. 

Amodei spent nearly $74,000, including $1,200 for bobbleheads as campaign materials and $1,600 on custom printed hats. He is left with almost $482,000 cash on hand.

Danny Tarkanian (R)

Douglas County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian, son of legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, announced his candidacy on the final day of filing last month, which gave him just two weeks to fundraise. He raised nearly $132,000, including just shy of $39,000 that he loaned himself. 

He spent a little more than $45,000, of which $36,000 went to political consulting. He has roughly $86,000 cash on hand.

District 3

Susie Lee (D-incumbent)

Though Lee recorded a downturn in fundraising during the first quarter, the incumbent still maintained a strong fundraising lead in the race for her vulnerable District 3 seat.

From January through March, Lee raised more than $576,000 and boosted her campaign war chest to more than $2.1 million.

Lee reported spending nearly $236,000 in the first quarter, including nearly $40,000 on marketing through D.C.-based firm Break Something.

Randell Hynes (D)

Lee’s single primary challenger, Hynesdid not file a standard quarterly report with the FEC, but instead filed a fundraising report with the secretary of state’s office, which is the wrong venue for candidates for federal office. 

The Army veteran and software developer reported $3,725 in fundraising entirely through a personal loan to his campaign, and just $10 more than that in spending, ending the quarter with $0 in his campaign account.

April Becker (R)

A real estate attorney who narrowly lost a state Senate bid in 2020, Becker continued to sit atop the Republican field in fundraising during the first quarter, bringing in more than $205,000 and raising her cash on hand to nearly $450,000.

That fundraising included close to $37,000 from Becker herself.

Becker spent about $136,000 during the quarter, including nearly $19,000 on digital advertising through Virginia-based firm Connell Donatelli, Inc. and more than $25,000 on fundraising services.

Noah Malgeri (R)

A veteran and attorney, Malgeri reported the second-highest first quarter fundraising total in the District 3 Republican primary, bringing in more than $94,000 from January through March.

Malgeri personally contributed a majority of those funds (nearly $88,000) and has self-financed about 80 percent of his campaign so far.

Malgeri ended the quarter with $100,000 in cash on hand, after spending $44,000 during the first quarter, including nearly $24,000 on “messaging” through Arizona-based B1 Marketing Group.

John Kovacs (R)

The construction company owner continued to rack up his campaign’s debt in the first quarter, ending with $440,000 owed.

Of nearly $63,000 Kovacs raised from January through March, $62,000 came from loans he made to his own campaign. He has personally contributed 96 percent of the $342,000 he has raised this cycle.

He also spent more than he raised in the first quarter, expending more than $75,000, including $15,000 on Facebook ad buys. Kovacs enters the second quarter with just $3,000 on hand.

Clark Bossert (R)

A former UNLV machine shop manager, Bossert reported raising more than $10,000 during the first quarter and ending with less than $2,000 in cash on hand, after spending $12,000 during the quarter.

One other Republican in the race, Albert Goldberg, who has no online campaign presence, filed to run for the seat with the Clark County elections department, but has yet to file any reports with the FEC, which is only required after a candidate raises or spends more than $5,000 in an election cycle.

District 4

Steven Horsford (D-incumbent)

Horsford reported having nearly $1.94 million in his campaign war chest — more than six times that of his closest Republican opponent — after raising more than $510,000 and spending $246,000 during the first quarter of 2022.

Horsford’s nearly quarter of a million dollars in spending included more than $5,000 for online advertising, $54,000 for fundraising and strategy consulting and nearly $10,000 for air and auto travel.

Annie Black (R)

The Mesquite-based assemblywoman reported the strongest fundraising quarter of the Republican field, bringing in $327,000 during her first three months of campaigning.

Black’s haul included a pair of $5,000 contributions from Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (R-NY) E-PAC and more than $90,000 from 22 donors with the last name “Black,” many of whom gave two maximum individual contributions of $2,900.

After spending less than $35,000 during the quarter, including more than $22,000 for consulting and advertising, Black ended March with nearly $293,000 in the bank.

Sam Peters (R)

The insurance firm owner, who finished second in the District 4 Republican primary in 2020, brought in $135,000 in contributions during the first quarter and finished March with about $204,000 in his campaign war chest. 

Peters also reported $160,000 in first-quarter disbursements, spending more than $73,000 on Las Vegas-based consulting firm McShane, LLC and another $9,000 on campaign consultant Ryan Shear.

Chance Bonaventura (R)

Bonaventura, chief of staff to Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, raised more than $6,500 in the first quarter and spent about $6,100, ending the quarter with less than $500 in cash on hand.

His reported contributions included a $500 donation from Fiore and more than $2,500 in personal donations, while a nearly $1,700 portion of his spending went toward campaign signs through Las Vegas print shop Artkore.

STATE RACES

Governor

Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo continued to lead the gubernatorial fundraising race in the first quarter of 2022. 

Check out our story from Friday for more details.

Lieutenant Governor

Even though she’s the incumbent, Lt. Gov. Lisa Cano Burkhead’s nearly $140,000 haul in the first quarter was a little more than half that of her Democratic primary opponent, Henderson Mayor Debra March, who brought in $257,000. 

Heading into the home stretch, Cano Burkhead’s roughly $160,000 in cash on hand is less than a third of March’s $552,000. Rural Democratic activist Kimi Cole is a distant third in the primary, with just $7,600 on hand.

On the Republican side, Las Vegas Councilman Stavros Anthony rolled over $200,000 from his council campaign account, leaving him with $350,000 in earnings for the quarter and $309,000 cash on hand. 

GOP self-funders are burning through their cash. Lexicon Bank CEO John Miller loaned himself $350,000 just this quarter and spent more than a quarter million dollars, largely on advertising and consulting. Former Treasurer Dan Schwartz gave himself almost all of the nearly $174,000 he raised this quarter and spent more than $90,000 on consultant firm McShane LLC.

Miller had $561,000 to spend in the 10 weeks before the primary, while Schwartz had nearly $106,000.

Secretary of State

The lone Democrat in the race, former Nevada Athletic Commission Chair Cisco Aguilar raised $196,000 in the first quarter and has nearly $562,000 built up with no need to shell it out for a primary.

Meanwhile, Republican Reno developer Jesse Haw bested all others in the race by raising nearly $664,000 in the first quarter — led by a nearly $460,000 loan to himself. While his spending topped the pack, too, he only spent about one-seventh of his contributions (about $89,000).

In the final leg of the GOP primary, former Judge Richard Scotti comes in second with roughly $79,200 cash on hand, and former Assemblyman Jim Marchant is third with nearly $56,000 to spend.

Treasurer

Republican Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore raised $142,000 last quarter but spent nearly twice as much — almost $263,000. About $140,000 of that was to consulting firm McShane, LLC. 

Fiore has just under $36,000 cash on hand heading into a Republican primary against businessman Manny Kess, who reported nearly $517,000 cash on hand. He’s put nearly $150,000 of his own money into the race so far.

Democrat and incumbent Zach Conine faces no primary opponent, and still raised nearly $145,000 and spent nearly $385,000 — mostly to a Chicago-based advertising agency. He recently announced he was making a massive TV ad buy in the month before the general election.

Conine has almost $198,000 cash on hand. 

Legislative races

Assembly

Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas), widely considered to be the next leader of the Assembly Democrats, reported raising more than $93,000 and spending $41,000. With nearly $430,000 in cash on hand, Yeager far outstrips the two Republican contenders for the Assembly District 9 seat.

Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D-Las Vegas), who serves as Assistant Majority Floor Leader, reported raising nearly $44,000 and spending about $22,000 ahead of the Assembly District 1 primary. With no Democratic challengers, Monroe-Moreno will sail into the general election with a war chest of a little more than $184,000.

Assistant Majority Whip Sandra Jauregui (D-Las Vegas) raised roughly $27,000 during the first quarter of 2022, spent about $18,000 and enters her re-election effort with no Democratic challengers and $142,000 in cash on hand. 

Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama (R-Las Vegas) maintains a safe berth from her challengers in Assembly District 2, who have yet to report any contributions. Kasama raised a little more than $21,000, spent roughly $17,000 and ended the quarter with more than $120,000 in cash on hand. She is expected to take a leadership role in the caucus following the exodus of more than half of the Republican Assembly members.

Following the departure of Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R-Reno), a host of Democrats and Republicans are making a bid for her Assembly District 25 seat, which leans toward Democrats after redistricting. 

Leading the Democratic primary in fundraising is retired Marine and chair of the Reno Human Rights Commission Alex Goff, who reported raising a little more than $24,000, spending about $4,000 and having a cash-on-hand balance of $26,000 heading into the primary. On the Republican side, conservative writer Sam Kumar reported $22,950 raised, $20,000 of which was a loan to himself. 

State Senate

Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop (D-Las Vegas) is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for state Senate District 8, raising more than $81,000 in the first quarter and ending with a cash-on-hand balance of $186,000. Of her eight Republican challengers, Mourey Insurance Agency president Raja Mourey has raised the most, reporting $40,800 during the first quarter. He also reported spending $20,000 and has $20,000 cash on hand.

In the closely watched Senate District 9 race where state Sen. Melanie Scheible (D-Las Vegas) is considered vulnerable, candidate Tina Peetris reported raising $100,000 — nearly double Scheible’s $51,000 reported contributions. But Peetris’ contributions came in the form of a $100,000 loan to herself, and Scheible has $50,000 more in her cash-on-hand reserve ($150,000).

As Assembly members Robin Titus (R-Wellington) and Jim Wheeler (R-Minden) battle it out for the open Senate District 17 seat, Titus has reported raising a little more than four times Wheeler’s $12,000 reported contributions. Backed by the Senate GOP caucus, Titus has more than $96,000 in cash on hand while Wheeler has just over $60,600. 

In the Senate District 16 primary, Sen. Don Tatro (R-Reno) reported raising more than $167,000 — the highest of any state Senate candidate in the quarter. Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner (R-Reno) raised more than $34,000 in her bid for the seat, and consevative radio host Monica “Jaye'' Stabbert reported raising nearly $41,600 (including a $30,000 loan). Tatro’s cash on hand is $137,000 compared with Krasner’s $109,000 and Stabbert’s $11,000.

Meanwhile, caucus-backed Democratic candidate and former Assemblyman Skip Daly has reported raising more than $55,000 in the Senate District 13 primary. Community organizer Nnedi Stephens reported raising more than $21,600. As of the first quarter, Daly has spent $38,000 and reported a war chest of $119,000, while Stephens has reported nearly $12,000 in spending and a cash-on-hand balance of $9,600.

Updated on April 19, 2022 at 1:15 p.m. to add information about District 1 candidate Cresent Hardy.

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