Nevada Incumbent Politicians Post Hefty Fundraising Leads

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada's incumbent federal office holders are building up their campaign war chests ahead of next year's elections in the Western swing state, amassing millions of dollars to be spent on hiring staffers and consultants, blitzing the airwaves with advertisements and printing glossy leaflets to be placed in mailboxes.

One of the most watched races will be U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto's reelection campaign. Democrats are hoping to hold onto the seat to keep their narrow majority in the U.S. Senate and Republicans are targeting it as a potential place to flip a seat.

Two swing congressional districts now held by Democrats are also expected to draw a number of contenders. Democrats have narrow voter registration advantages in both districts, including a 1.9 percentage-point advantage in the 3rd Congressional District, but both races could be transformed based on how state lawmakers redraw congressional districts later this year.

Candidates for state offices, including the packed field of Republican hopefuls vying for the chance to unseat first-term Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, are not required to file campaign finance reports until next year.

Here's a look at their early fundraising efforts according to new campaign finance reports this week:

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U.S. SENATE

Cortez Masto, a Democrat who is making her first reelection bid, reported raising almost $2.8 million over the past three months. Cortez Masto started July with $6.58 million in her campaign account.

Republicans Sharelle Mendenhall, a pageant winner and business owner, and Sam Brown, a Reno businessman and Army veteran, both recently filed as candidates with the Federal Election Commission but have not yet posted their first fundraising reports.

Republican Adam Laxalt, the former Nevada attorney general, has said he’s considering another run for public office and is expected to join the race as well. He has not filed as a candidate to report any fundraising.

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1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Incumbent Democrat Dina Titus has raised $153,000 in recent months for her reelection race in Nevada’s 1st Congressional District. Titus, who represents the Las Vegas Strip and surrounding neighborhoods in a district that’s heavily Democratic, has about $463,000 in her campaign war chest.

Titus is facing a primary challenge from Amy Vilela, a progressive activist who worked on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Vilela reported raising nearly $82,000 in recent months and started July with nearly $58,000 in her campaign account.

No Republican has filed to run for the seat.

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2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Six-term Republican Mark Amodei had not posted a campaign finance report as of Friday for his reelection campaign in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District. Amodei, who represents Reno, Carson City and rural northern Nevada, has said he’s not ruling out running for reelection but he’s also mulling a bid for governor. He last reported in April having $323,000 in his campaign account. Amodei did not immediately respond to a message left with his office Friday inquiring about his decision.

Amodei, who has won each of his campaigns in the reliably red district by double-digit margins, has one challenger at this point. Democrat Aaron Sims, who ran in the Carson City mayoral race in 2020, has filed paperwork to run, but has not posted any campaign contributions through the first half of the year.

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3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Democrat Susie Lee, who was elected in 2018, is seeking another term in her district representing much of suburban Las Vegas. She has raised $615,000 in recent months and ended June with about $955,000.

On the Republican side, April Becker, a Las Vegas attorney who unsuccessfully ran for the Nevada Legislature in 2020, reported the biggest fundraising haul. Becker raised more than $250,000 and started July with $259,000 to spend.

Mark Robertson raised nearly $105,000 and closed the quarter with about $117,000, while Noah Malgeri reported raising just under $14,000 and had about $7,400 in his account. John Kovacs and Reinier Prijten did not have fundraising reports Friday.

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4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

Incumbent Democrat Steven Horsford, who is seeking his fourth term in Congress, reported raising $581,000 in contributions, ending the first half of 2021 with a $1.2 million war chest.

The sprawling district leans Democratic and stretches north from North Las Vegas to six of the state’s rural mining counties.

Three candidates have filed paperwork to challenge Horsford — Republicans Sam Peters and Carolina Serrano and nonpartisan John Johnson. Neither Serrano nor Johnson had reported any campaign contributions as of Friday.

Peters, a veteran who ran and lost in the district's 2020 Republican primary, reported $119,000 in contributions, all from individual donors. He begins the second half of 2021 with $156,000 in his campaign coffers, or roughly one dollar for every eight Horsford has.

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Price reported from Las Vegas. Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.