WASHINGTON — With a push from doctors and fellow Republicans, Rep. Joe Heck has jumped to a head start of more than a half million dollars in his bid for re-election, according to new reports released Tuesday.
Federal Election Commission documents show the second-term Nevada congressman from Henderson taking in $431,795 during the three-month quarter ending June 30. Roughly half came from individuals with the rest from political groups.
Heck reported $658,641 in his campaign account at the end of the reporting period.
Fellow GOP lawmakers heeded a call to help Heck, who has been targeted by Democrats for defeat in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District that includes Henderson, Boulder City, Laughlin and unincorporated parts of Clark County south to the Colorado River. The district contains 10,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, and 66,000 registered independent voters.
Led by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who gave $14,000, five dozen Republican lawmakers contributed a total of $79,000 to Heck.
And similar to Heck’s fundraising earlier in the year, doctors and medical organizations gave heavily to the congressman, who also is an osteopathic physician. Records indicate he received more than $77,000 from those interests.
Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, gave Heck the maximum individual donation of $5,200, as did his wife Miriam and his daughter Shelley.
Interest in the House race that may be the most hotly contested one in Nevada picked up when Democrat political consultant and party official Erin Bilbray declared her candidacy July 1.
Bilbray did not report receiving contributions in the months before she officially entered the race.
But the candidate, whose father James Bilbray was a Las Vegas congressman from 1987 through 1994, figures to catch up quickly, according to Mark Peplowski, a political science professor at the College of Southern Nevada.
“The spigots are going to start opening,” said Peplowski, who projected that Bilbray could raise $500,000 or more over the next three months, and could “easily” raise between $3 million and $4 million for the race.
“Remember, her father and Harry Reid have been tight for longer than Ozzie and Harriet,” Peplowski said.
“I am fairly certain the Democratic powers-that-be are going to start making calls and you will see all the PACs, the union PACs and the Democratic PACs are going to start dumping money on Erin because they want that seat.”
Heck is the only Nevada incumbent House member to have drawn an opponent so far, 16 months before the November 2014 election. Among other lawmakers:
-- Democratic Rep. Dina Titus raised $152,332 during the quarter, and reported $142,723 cash on hand. She also is carrying $101,606 in debts from her 2012 race.
-- Republican Rep. Mark Amodei raised $19,750 and had $160,766 cash on hand. He reported ongoing debt of $11,000.
-- Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford raised $131,859. After paying off close to $40,000 in debts, he reported $21,221 in his bank account.