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Cortez Masto has significant fundraising edge in key US Senate race

Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto entered 2022 with more than four times as much money on hand as the entire GOP field trying to unseat her.

Cortez Masto, who is seeking re-election, raised $3.36 million in the final fundraising quarter of 2021. She spent $1.2 million and enters the election year with $10.46 million on hand, an amount her campaign said is unprecedented in Nevada.

The senator’s campaign said the vast majority of donations were $100 or less, with the average donation coming in at $51.

Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who is seeking the Republican nomination to face Cortez Masto in the general election, raised nearly $1.34 million in the final fundraising quarter and spent about $900,000. He has nearly $1.7 million on hand.

Laxalt’s campaign say his fourth-quarter numbers make him one of the most well-funded Senate challengers in the nation at the beginning of the election year.

“Our campaign is building an unprecedented grassroots movement propelled by working Nevada families, and these numbers show the growing strength of our campaign,” Laxalt said in a statement last month. “With the support of leaders like President Donald Trump, Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Tom Cotton, and countless more conservative patriots across Nevada and America, our campaign is ready to flip the 51st seat for a new GOP majority. Together, we will restore conservative leadership to represent the people of this state.”

But before he will have that opportunity, he must win the June primary.

He faces three other candidates in that race, including Army veteran Sam Brown, who raised $1.05 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 and spent about $980,000 in the same period. He has slightly more than $730,000 on hand.

Brown, a newcomer to Nevada politics, has said he is already spending money to maintain momentum. In October, he spent money to reach viewers of Fox News.

His fourth quarter numbers continue Brown’s momentum from the previous quarter, when he also posted a fundraising haul of more than $1 million.

“Last quarter, we showed America that we had started a movement for new conservative leadership,” Brown said in a statement when his campaign released his new fundraising numbers last month. “Now, we have shown that this movement is here to stay. We are the only Nevada Senate campaign of either party with this type of massive grassroots following. We aren’t funded by the Washington political class or PACs seeking a coronation. Thousands of patriots in Nevada and across America have rallied and donated to our campaign because they want new grassroots leadership that is accountable to the people.”

His campaign said his fourth-quarter haul came from more than 15,000 donors, with an average contribution of $58.

Meanwhile, pageant winner Sharelle Mendenhall raised more than $45,000 in the fourth quarter and spent nearly the same amount. She has nearly $10,200 on hand.

And health care executive and military veteran William Hockstedler raised about $4,400 in the final quarter and spent about $9,300. He has a little more than $10,700 on hand.

Nevada’s U.S. Senate race will garner national attention and is likely to attract plenty of outside money because the outcome could determine which party will control the upper chamber. The Senate is evenly split, with Vice President Kamala Harris able to cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of Democrats. Cortez Masto was first elected in 2016, following the retirement of the late Sen. Harry Reid.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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