Mark Amodei is getting some big-name GOP help for his congressional campaign.
Former U.S. Rep. Barbara Vucanovich said Monday she endorsed Amodei and donated the maximum $5,000 to his campaign for the same U.S. House seat she had first three decades ago.
And House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio., will speak at a fundraising breakfast for Amodei in Reno on Friday at the Arrow Creek Country Club, said Vucanovich and another Republican.
"I may be a little more conservative than he is, but I think Mark would be a good representative," Vucanovich said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I support him."
Vucanovich, 90, was Nevada’s first female U.S. representative in the 2nd Congressional District after its creation in 1981. A respected GOP icon, her opinion carries weight with voters.
Earlier this year, Vucanovich had endorsed former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold, a Republican, in the Sept. 13 special election when the secretary of state was accepting any and all candidates for the ballot. Amodei defeated Lippold and others for the GOP Central Committee nomination, however. And the Nevada Supreme Court upheld a judge’s decision that the major political party nominees should be the only ones on the ballot with qualified independent hopefuls.
Vucanovich praised Amodei, saying he was campaigning hard on the ground.
"He’s doing a lot of the mano-a-mano handshaking and honestly getting around the district that you have to do," Vucanovich said. "And I think he’s doing a better job with his TV advertising."
So does his Democratic rival Kate Marshall stand a shot at victory in the GOP-leaning district?
The Democrats in Washoe County think so, Vucanovich said.
"I think they do think she has a chance," she said. "And she’s raised more money."
At the end of June, Marshall had $200,000 cash on hand compared with $100,000 for Amodei. And she had raised a total $243,000 compared with $139,000 for Amodei.
The GOP is trying to even the score. Vucanovich and other current and former GOP leaders, from ex-U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt to U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, helped Amodei raise money at a recent Washington, D.C., fundraiser. They either attended or, like Vucanovich, lent their names to the event.
People attending the Boehner breakfast Friday can give up to $5,000 to his campaign, and he can accept up to $10,000 from political action committees.
Marshall, too, is getting help behind the scenes, both in fundraising and advice. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., sent a fundraising letter for Marshall that criticized national Republicans for "attacking Kate’s financial bona fides."
"We know what it takes to go up against the Republican machine," said Reid, whose own Democratic machine helped him win re-election in 2010. "Your commitment helped us give the GOP a resounding defeat last Election Day — but now Kate needs our help to give them another one."