Conservation Voters launches campaign for Cortez Masto

The League of Conservation Voters has started a field canvassing effort in Nevada that encourages voters to support former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, the front-runner in the Democratic race for U.S. Senate.

The group is spending more than $250,000 in the campaign, which is aimed at reaching voters in the Las Vegas metropolitan region. It announced the effort on Monday.

It is the league’s first field effort and expenditure in support of a U.S. Senate candidate this election cycle.

The spending is another example of the dollars from outside groups that are starting to pour into the competitive race for the seat, which is open because U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is retiring.

As an independent expenditure group, the League of Conservation Voters can spend money supporting or opposing candidates, but doesn’t coordinate directly with campaigns. It supports environmental and conservation causes.

“Our canvassing is going to be door-to-door,” said Clay Schroers, the group’s national campaign director. “They’re going to be talking to voters about why we support Catherine Cortez Masto, who has a good record and a good plan on the environment and climate change.”

For example, the group cited her opposition to storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and support for renewable energy.

The group also has taken aim at U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., one of the most visible contenders for the Senate seat on the Republican side. It says Heck has a record of being unfriendly toward conservation issues, such as a 2015 vote against a bill that would have extended tax credits for renewable energy projects.

Heck’s campaign said the vote in question was an omnibus amendment unrelated to renewable energy tax credits. At the time, Heck’s congressional office put out a statement saying he opposed that bill because it raised discretionary spending and didn’t adequately fund national defense.

Additionally, Heck voted in support of a separate amendment related to the same legislation that offered multi-year extensions of solar and wind tax credits and one-year extensions of other types of renewable energy, campaign spokesman Brian Baluta said.

“Dr. Heck has and continues to support renewable energy development in Nevada,” he said.

The organization spent slightly more than $10,000 in Nevada in support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in January. Those efforts included advertising on Facebook, polling and staff time on a press release.

In 2014, the League of Conservation Voters and its related entities — the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund and state organizations — spent more than $30 million. Of that more than $19 million was on federal races and $10 million was on state races.

Contact Ben Botkin at or 702-387-2904. Find @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

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