Las Vegas City Council candidate Cedric Crear far outpaced his competitors to take the top fundraising spot in the 11-person pack racing to represent the city’s Ward 5.
In filings with the Nevada secretary of state’s office, candidates in the special election reported raising amounts anywhere from nothing to Crear’s $120,810 between Feb. 13 and March 17.
Harvey Munford, the next highest fundraiser, reported raising $26,750 during the period. Donors on both sides of the Badlands development issue in Ward 2 have funneled money into Crear and Munford’s campaign coffers.
Joe Mitchell raised $18,425 but didn’t report any expenses. Walter Jones III reported raising $10,430, and Sheila Collins was the next highest fundraiser, drawing in $3,700.
Crear got a fundraising head start on the other council contenders — he announced his candidacy a year ago for the Ward 5 seat in the 2019 election, when a full four-year term will be available.
Having money in the bank leading into the special election allowed Crear’s campaign to “sprint” through the abbreviated special election cycle, campaign manager Jim Ferrence said.
When Ricki Barlow resigned from the council in January, announcing he would plead guilty to a felony for misusing campaign dollars from 2015, the council voted to fill the empty seat by holding a special election to serve out the remainder of Barlow’s term. The relatively short special election cycle started when candidates filed to run for office Feb. 13 and 14. Voters will go to the polls Tuesday.
Crear’s campaign reported spending $116,429 during the roughly monthlong reporting period. Munford’s campaign spent $23,438.
“There are two parts to a 30-day race. First, you have to build awareness that there’s a campaign, and then you have to build awareness for your candidate,” Munford campaign manager Lisa Mayo-DeRiso said.
Shondra Summers-Armstrong, Patricia Messinger and Timothy Hicks reported spending more than their campaigns raised during the reporting period. Summers-Armstrong’s campaign drew in $1,650 and spent $16,402, while Hicks raised $700 and spent $764. Messinger raised $275 and spent $969.
Randy Voyard reported raising $100 and spending nothing. Candidates Curtis Coleman and Shannon Hopkins raised nothing.
A political action committee dubbed Citizens For a Stronger Government that was formed Feb. 14 has sent out flyers endorsing Munford.
It wasn’t clear Tuesday how much the committee had raised or spent, because a report wasn’t filed with the secretary of state’s office. Matthew Yarbrough, who is listed as the PAC’s registered agent, didn’t return a phone call Tuesday.
In last year’s Ward 2 race, people on both sides of a controversial development proposal for the Badlands golf course infused thousands of dollars into campaign coffers. Some of the same donors are funneling thousands into the Ward 5 election. The outcome could swing future council votes on the development plans.
Crear, a Las Vegas planning commissioner, has seen contributions from vocal Badlands development opponents who live alongside the shuttered course. He has cast votes against plans to develop the land in the past.
Jack Binion contributed $10,000 to Crear’s campaign a year ago, and Frank Schreck was among the Queensridge residents to donate to his campaign earlier this year — $4,000.
“Cedric has a track record in defense of the neighbors,” Ferrence said. “So that support was natural.”
Munford’s campaign reported a trio of $5,000 contributions this reporting period, from Summer Davies, Cafe Leone and Lior Rissin. The latter two donors list addresses that Badlands developer EHB Cos. has listed for past political contributions, including the company’s Las Vegas headquarters, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Law firm Hutchison & Steffen, which represents EHB Cos., contributed $500 to Munford’s campaign earlier this month.
“EHB and other groups came in and said, ‘Yeah, we’ll support Harvey,’” Mayo-DeRiso said.
The City Council in the past has cast split 4-3 votes on the controversial development proposal. The new council member will be seated April 18, about a month before the council is slated to take up the most recent Badlands development plans.