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Week later, underdog Nevada GOP Senate hopeful Gunter's ad buy begins to materialize

Jeff Gunter, a former ambassador to Iceland, said his bank is unreasonably holding up the wire transaction to buy ad time.
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
Election 2024Elections

Update (4/11/2024 at 1 p.m.): Gunter placed $459,000 worth of advertisements on Thursday afternoon, according to AdImpact. The ads are expected to start this week and will run through the week before the Senate primary. The original story is below:

Last week, Jeff Gunter announced a $3.3 million ad buy in Nevada’s U.S. Senate GOP primary in a splashy interview with Fox News, injecting an expensive new dynamic into a race that national Republicans want to wrap up for his primary opponent, Sam Brown.

But one week later, Gunter’s campaign has still not actually placed the ad reservations, according to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filings checked mid-day Wednesday.

In a Wednesday statement to The Nevada Independent, a Gunter campaign spokesperson blamed the delay on banking issues — saying Chain Bridge Bank is “unreasonably holding a wire from being disbursed” and that the campaign planned to address the bank’s pattern of misconduct once the wire transfer is cleared.

“We expect it to be released any day and the reservations to be placed imminently,” said Gunter spokesperson Erica Knight. 

In the ad, Gunter refers to himself as “110% pro-Trump” and promises to “drain the swamp,” accompanied by photos of prominent politicians including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has given money to Brown. 

Gunter, a dermatologist and former ambassador to Iceland under former President Donald Trump, is challenging front-runner Brown and 11 other candidates for the Republican nomination to take on incumbent Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV). Brown, a veteran who suffered severe burns while deployed in Afghanistan, has the backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and has outpaced the rest of the GOP field in fundraising.

But a multimillion-dollar ad buy would make Gunter, who has criticized Brown as insufficiently supportive of Trump, the first Republican candidate to start running their own ads on television. While Brown has yet to release his own ads, outside groups including the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity Action are on the airwaves supporting him.

Doing so would add a new wrinkle to the Senate primary — the only competitive one in which Trump has yet to make an endorsement — and potentially compel a response from the Brown campaign, which has thus far not engaged with primary challengers and branded the race as a two-candidate contest between himself and Rosen.

But that would require Gunter to actually buy the ad time. His campaign told The Daily Mail Sunday that evidence of the bookings would be available by Wednesday, but no such transactions have been posted in the FCC’s files.

This is not the Gunter campaign’s first financial mishap. In January filings with the Federal Election Commission, Gunter filed an amendment saying his quarterly report did not include a $200,000 loan he made to his campaign that he believed to be lost in the mail.


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