CARSON CITY – When it comes to raising money, District 1 state Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, and District 9 state Senate GOP candidate Mari Nakashima St. Martin of Las Vegas emerge as winners as the Tuesday primary election approaches.
Contribution and expense reports filed Friday with the secretary of state show Lee has raised $208,499 and spent $186,211 in his primary against fellow Democrat Patricia Spearman.
Spearman has raised $13,399 and spent $11,690 in a race largely in North Las Vegas. But the Nevada Priorities Political Action Committee, which has been sending out anti-Lee material and supports Spearman, reported $86,209 in contributions and $81,434 in expenses. Its funds come from liberal-leaning groups.
In District 9 in southwest Las Vegas, St. Martin reported she has raised $126,634 and spent $102,707. That compares with $52,695 in contributions and $55,305 in expenditures for her Republican challenger Brent Jones. Republicans United, which supports Jones, reported $5,000 in contributions and $4,100 in expenses.
The two races are the most bitterly contested Clark County primaries for legislative officers.
What Lee and St. Martin have in addition to cash is the support of their respective party’s state Senate caucuses. And, according to studies by the nonpartisan Center for Responsible Politics in Washington, D.C., more than 80 percent of state candidates win when they raise more money than their opponents.
Spearman’s campaign has complained Lee is not enough of a Democrat or supportive enough of women’s reproductive rights and gay marriage to deserve re-election.
Lee contends Spearman has lied about her background, such as claiming she was a professor at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. University records show she actually was a lecturer, although Spearman once again said Friday she was a professor.
Her campaign supporters have complained Lee has placed material on voters’ doors that falsely states U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., support Lee. An aide to Reid said the senator does support Lee. A Berkley spokesman said she is not picking sides in the Democratic primary, but considers Lee a close friend.
Spearman declined Friday to criticize Lee for the incorrect information about Berkley on door hangers, saying only “it is par for the course” for Lee.
In the District 9 race, water company businessman Jones has questioned whether St. Martin, a former state Republican Party spokesman, is qualified enough to be a senator. His supporters have attacked her as a “party girl,” although St. Martin said she is just a social drinker.
Jones also claims St. Martin has attacked his Scientology religion, which she denies. Her campaign has released a Los Angeles news story that claims Jones sold two ostrich eggs to a mental disabled man for $30,000. He denies any wrongdoing.
In other key primary races:
■ In state Senate District 5 in the Henderson area, Republican Steve Kirk has raised $91,624 and spent $93,815 compared with fellow Republican Annette Teijeiro’s $21,075 in contributions and $27,248 in expenditures. Kirk has the endorsement of the Senate Republican Caucus.
■ In state Senate District 11, west of Interstate 15 and south of Desert Inn Road, Democrat Aaron Ford has raised $114,123 and spent $74,009. His opponent, former Assemblyman Harry Mortenson, D-Las Vegas, has raised $10,866 and spend $32,167. Ford has the endorsement of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
■ In state Senate District 18 in northwest Las Vegas, current District 13 Assemblyman Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, has raised $64,970 and spent $58,441. His opponent, current District 4 Assemblyman Richard McArthur, R-Las Vegas, has raised $11,388 and spent $29,766. Hammond has the support of the Senate Republican Caucus.
Contact reporter Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.