Incumbents have big money edge in Nevada’s U.S. House races

February 3, 2022 GMT

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Congressional incumbents continue to enjoy big fundraising advantages over their challengers in Nevada, where at least two of the four House seats are expected to be hotly contested again in November.

Third District Democratic Rep. Susie Lee has raised $2.5 million and reported nearly $1.8 million cash on hand as of Dec. 31. Fourth District Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford has raised nearly $1.9 million and still had nearly $1.7 million cash on hand, according to reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission.

But both of the leading Republican challengers in those key swing districts stretching out of the Las Vegas metro area have raised more than $500,000. And April Becker in the 3rd and Samuel Peters in the 4th both have ample money remaining in their campaign coffers to make a run at turning those seats red.

Becker, a Republican attorney who narrowly lost a bid to unseat the state Senate leader in 2020, raised another $200,000 the last three months of 2021. That brought her total for the election cycle to $645,411 as she seeks the GOP nomination to take on Lee.

Becker has spent $465,157 on her campaign and still has $380,857 cash on hand. The only other Republicans running in the primary who have reported raising any money are John Kovacs and Noah Malgeri.

Kovacs reported total receipts of $278,809, but $265,000 of that is money he has loaned to the campaign, including $153,000 in the last quarter. His campaign reports $16,199 cash on hand but a total debt of $298,291, including the loans from Kovacs.

Malgeri has raised a total of $183,572, but only $30,145 the last quarter, and had $91,814 cash on hand.

Lee won by 3 percentage points in 2020 in the district that runs through Henderson to the Arizona border and has bounced between Democrats and Republicans over the past decade. She raised $623,237 in the last quarter and spent $276,200, to bring her total expenditures to $745,509 through Dec. 31.

Horsford won by 4.9 percentage points in 2020 in the 4th District, which contains minority-majority urban areas and rural ranching counties north of Las Vegas. It too has traded hands between Republicans and Democrats over the last decade.

Horsford raised $465,261 last quarter and spent $252,659 to bring his total expenditures to $667,617. He won the seat in 2012, lost it in 2014 and then wrested it back in 2018.

Peters, a war veteran who lost in the 2020 GOP primary, has raised $502,190 — $134,361 of that since Oct. 1. He has $229,450 cash on hand. Jessie Vargas, who entered the race late, brought in all $84,031 of his contributions since Oct. 1 and has spent only $2,000 of it.

Other candidates in that race who had not reported raising any money as of Dec. 31 include Annie Black, a Republican assemblywoman who marched in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, and was later censured for refusing to wear a mask in the statehouse.

First District fifth-term Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, who reports $848,192 cash on hand, is the only incumbent facing a significant primary challenge. The blue-leaning district encompasses the Las Vegas Strip. Titus raised $273,034 the last quarter for a total of $669,377 and has spent a total of $160,075.

Amy Viela, a progressive Democrat who ran in the 4th District primary in 2018 but lost to Horsford, raised $102,789 the last quarter to bring her total to $280,348. She has spent $244,653, including $113,525 the last quarter, and had $35,694 cash on hand at the end of the year.

The two leading Republicans there raised and spent similar amounts the last quarter, but Mark Robertson had three times as much money at his disposal heading into this year with $172,444 cash on hand compared to former Trump campaign staffer Carolina Serrano’s $57,402.

Robertson has raised $313,382, including $56,765 the last quarter. He has spent $140, 937, $40,835 the last quarter. Serrano raised $59,575 the last quarter to bring her total to $139,619. She spent $41,414 last quarter.

Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, the veteran incumbent in the 2nd District, faces only token opposition in the GOP primary from Jesse Douglas Hurley, who hasn’t reported raising any money. Neither have the two Democrats seeking their party’s nomination, Aaron Sims and Timothy Hanifan.

Nevertheless, Amodei raised $97,476 in the final quarter to bring his campaign total to $385,525. He has $400,518 cash on hand, including money left over from his last campaign.