Gov. Brian Sandoval is millions of dollars ahead of the game in his bid for re-election.
The first-term Republican reported raising $3 million last year, meaning any serious challengers would have a lot of catching up to do.
Midnight Wednesday was the deadline for candidates and elected officials to file campaign-finance reports with the Secretary of State’s Office.
No well-known Democrat has announced a gubernatorial bid, though Steve Sisolak, a Clark County commissioner, has said he is considering it. He reported $29,000 in donations and $85,000 in expenses in 2013.
With his huge money advantage and no prominent challenger, Sandoval will be tough to beat come November.
“Sandoval’s sending a clear message that if you’re running against him, you better be prepared,” said Eric Herzik, a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Secretary of State Ross Miller, the Democratic contender for attorney general, raised $926,000 for the upcoming campaign. He likely will face Republican Adam Laxalt, who just announced for the race this week and so did not report any fundraising.
Republican state Sen. Mark Hutchison, who has been crisscrossing the state since last summer campaigning for lieutenant governor, reported $876,000 for his campaign for the part-time job. Hutchison, a Las Vegas lawyer who represented Nevada for free in the multi-state challenge to the federal health care reform bill, is midway through his first term in the Senate.
He was swiftly endorsed by Sandoval and other top Republicans for lieutenant governor, who presides over the state Senate. But more important, the job that pays $60,000 a year is stepping stone to the governor’s office. Hutchison’s election would create a comfort zone for Sandoval, should he have higher political ambitions such as a run against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 2016.
Sue Lowden, a former state senator who lost in a crowded GOP primary field in a bid to face Reid in 2010, also is seeking the lieutenant governor’s job. She put $100,000 into her own campaign and reported a total of $228,000.
Kim Wallin, Nevada’s Democratic controller running for state treasurer, reported $103,000 in contributions. Expected Republican challenger Dan Schwartz reported $232,000, most of it his own money.
For secretary of state, outgoing Democratic state Treasurer Kate Marshall raised $178,000 for her campaign. State Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, reported $78,000.