A race for Las Vegas justice of the peace has turned into one of the more expensive in the valley’s history, as the two candidates have combined to raise more than a half-million dollars for their campaigns.
As of Wednesday, Leavitt, a regent from 2004 to 2016, had raised $347,000 for his campaign and spent nearly $325,000, according to the Nevada secretary of state’s campaign finance website.
Graham, a prosecutor since 2011, raised more than $273,000 and spent nearly $262,000 on her campaign, the latest figures show.
Leavitt said he received about 75 percent of his contributions from the public and roughly 25 percent from the legal community.
“It shows that I’ve been out with the community and a wide coalition of people,” he said.
Graham said she received contributions from fellow lawyers on both sides of the legal aisle.
“I’m very enthused and proud to be receiving support from members of the bar who are in the best position to judge the quality of the candidates,” Graham said.
In a three-way race in the June primary, Graham earned 47.4 percent of the vote, while Leavitt collected 35.4 percent. As the top two finishers, they will face each other in the November election.
As judicial races are nonpartisan and candidates are discouraged by a code of ethics from discussing legal decisions, the race has centered on a debate over experience. While Leavitt, 56, has practiced law in Nevada for 26 years, Graham, 34, said she has tried dozens of cases in Clark County.
Leavitt has said he believes any elected judge should have 20 years of legal experience. Nevada law requires Justice Court candidates to have practiced law for at least five years.
Graham and Leavitt are vying to replace Deborah Lippis, who stepped down from the Department 1 seat in September after more than 25 years.
The job pays an annual salary of a little more than $153,000, with a six-year term.
In the Department 18 race in Clark County District Court, incumbent Mark Bailus faces Chief Deputy District Attorney Mary Kay Holthus.
Bailus, who was appointed to the seat in April 2017, has raised more than $316,000 and spent a little more than $303,000, according to the secretary of state’s website.
Holthus, a prosecutor since 1991, has raised more than $56,000 for her campaign and spent more than $50,000, according to the site.
Incumbents David Jones and Tierra Jones, who are unrelated, have no challengers for their seats in Departments 29 and 10, respectively. Both were appointed last year by Gov. Brian Sandoval.