Two Republican state senators battling for their political lives raised more than double the money their Democratic opponents did since the August primary, according to campaign finance reports that were due this week.
State Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, raised $237,000 between Aug. 1 and Oct. 23, while his opponent, Democrat Allison Copening, raised $110,000 during that time, according to the reports.
State Sen. Joe Heck, R-Henderson, raised $278,000 during the period, compared with $103,000 raised by his opponent, Democrat Shirley Breeden.
The campaign finance reports provide a rough metric of the candidates' support, especially from the business community and special interests such as unions, but they do not tell the whole story of how much is being spent on two high-profile legislative races.
Independently of the candidates themselves, the state Democratic Party has blitzed Beers' and Heck's Senate districts with negative mailers, some of them misleading. It's not known how much the party spent on those fliers; its latest campaign disclosure was not available Wednesday.
Independent groups also have rallied to Beers' and Heck's defense and slammed the Democratic candidates in mailers, chiefly a political action group affiliated with the retailers' lobby, but the magnitude of those efforts has been dwarfed by the Democratic Party's outlay.
In Republican hands by an 11-10 margin, the state Senate would flip to Democratic control if just one of the pair of GOP incumbents loses. Beers and Heck complain that their opponents have largely hidden from the public and the media, but the Republicans are running scared because of the state's wave of Democratic voter registrations.
Both Beers' northwest Las Vegas Valley 6th District and Heck's Henderson-area 5th District now have more Democrats than Republicans registered, a reversal from the last time the duo faced election four years ago.
The reports show that Breeden and Copening got the majority of their funding from unions and Democratic politicians, while Beers and Heck's main sources of donations were corporate interests and lobbies, including gaming companies and chambers of commerce.
Contact reporter Molly Ball at mball @reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919.