Sen. Cortez Masto Has Big Cash Advantage Over Gop Hopefuls

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The U.S. Senate race in Nevada is becoming expensive, with incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto holding a big financial advantage over two leading Republican hopefuls who each spent more than $1 million the first three months of 2022.

Democratic incumbents also enjoy big fundraising advantages in what are expected to be Nevada's most contested congressional races in November.

Third District Rep. Susie Lee and 4th District Rep. Steven Horsford each reported about $2 million cash on hand in the swing districts stretching out of Las Vegas.

Financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission by the April 15 deadline show Cortez Masto raised a record $4.4 million between Jan. 1 and March 31. Her campaign reported more than $11 million cash on hand with no primary challenger in June.

Republican Adam Laxalt, a former attorney general who was former President Donald Trump's Nevada campaign organizer, raised almost $1.6 million. He reported still having $2.2 million to spend.

Sam Brown, a U.S. Army veteran and businessman from Reno, raised more than $1.1 million and spent almost $1.2 million during the period. He had about $680,000 cash on hand.

In the congressional races, Lee has raised nearly twice as much as the 3rd District GOP candidates combined — $3 million for the election cycle including $571,543 for the quarter. She has spent nearly $1 million total, including $231,996 since the end of last year.

Lee won by 3 percentage points in 2020 in the district that has bounced between Democrats and Republicans over the past decade.

The most active Republican there this quarter was April Becker, an attorney who narrowly lost a bid to unseat the state Senate leader in 2020. She raised $180,083 to top the $1 million mark for the cycle. She spent $136,077 for the cycle, a total of $601,628 overall and reported $449,864 cash on hand.

The vast majority of the money raised by the other two leading Republicans has come in loans to themselves.

John Kovacs, a construction company owner, has raised $341,699 and spent $338,603 since he launched his campaign last year but only $790 for the quarter. He reported a $440,000 campaign debt and only $3,095 cash left.

Noah Malgeri, a lawyer and veteran, raised $94,417 to bring his total to $277,990, spent $44,402 for the quarter and had $100,006 cash on hand.

Horsford won by only 4.9 percentage points in 2020 in the 4th District. He raised $505,926 for the quarter — for a cycle total of nearly $2.4 million — and spent $239,863 with $1.9 million left.

Samuel Peters, a war veteran who lost in the 2020 GOP primary, has raised and spent the most GOP money overall — $636,739 and $436,744 respectively — and has $203,531 cash on hand.

But he only raised $134,548 while spending $159,688 the last quarter while Annie Black, a GOP assemblywoman from Mesquite, raised all of her $327,264 during that period.

Black has only spent $34,715 and reported $292,548 remaining. She marched in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, and later was censured for refusing to wear a mask in the statehouse.

Jessie Vargas raised $19,880 and spent $84,566 for the quarter with $17,253 cash left.

The only House incumbents facing primary challenges are in the two districts historically considered their party’s strongholds and enjoy big fundraising advantages.

First District Democrat Dina Titus is being targeted from the left by Amy Vilela and 2nd District Republican Mark Amodei from the right by Danny Tarkanian, son of famed UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.

Titus has $1.1 million cash on hand after raising $343,608 during the first three months of the year while spending $74,191.

Vilela is a progressive Democrat who ran in the 4th District primary in 2018 but lost to Horsford. She raised $111,667 to bring her total for the cycle to $392,269 but spent $100,851 for the quarter ($345,759 for the cycle) and only has $46,509 remaining.

Redistricting has given Republicans new hope in Titus' blue-leaning district encompassing the Las Vegas Strip. The three leading GOPs all report about the same amount of cash remaining at their disposal — David Brog, $263,595; Serrano Carolina, $261,851; and Mark Robertson, $236,330.

Robertson, an Army veteran, spent the most during the quarter, $111,893 with $115,974 in new receipts, while Serrano — a former Trump campaign staffer — raised the most, $278,527, and spent $74,078.

Brog, a conservative activist, has only spent $18,227 since he entered the race in February, but hauled in $231,823 for the quarter.

In the rural 2nd District, Amodei, raised $152,060 for the quarter to bring his total receipts to $540,585. He spent $70,409 during the quarter but still had $481,669 cash on hand.

Tarkanian raised $92,342, spent $44,858 and reported $86,443 cash on hand.

Among the four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the sprawling district where no Democrat has ever won, Timothy Hanifan has raised a total of $6,305 and had $3,650 cash on hand as of March 31.

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Sonner reported from Reno.