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Clark County judge has big money lead in Supreme Court race

CARSON CITY — If elections were determined solely by fundraising, Elissa Cadish would be the runaway winner in the race to replace retiring Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry.

Cadish, a Clark County District Court judge, raised more than $370,000 from Jan. 1 to May 18, according to her campaign finance report released last week.

Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Tao raised just over $60,000, the next-highest amount among the five candidates in the June 12 primary.

Las Vegas attorney Alan Lefebvre raised $45,000; Lyon County District Judge Leon Aberasturi raised $24,600; and Carson City attorney John Rutledge, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014, raised roughly $6,000.

Tao said he believes Cadish’s earlier campaign announcement (she announced her intentions to run in December) play a part in her fundraising advantage.

“I’m comfortable with where I am considering how long I’ve been in this race,” Tao said. “Everyone knows elections cost money, but in the end it’s up to the voters.”

Cadish, a Democrat, could not be reached for comment.

Judicial races are nonpartisan on the ballot. But Tao, who was a speechwriter for former Sen. Harry Reid, caused a stir when he switched his party from Democrat to nonpartisan on the last day to file for the race. He has since been endorsed by notable Republicans like Attorney General Adam Laxalt and former Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt Bono.

Early voting in the Nevada primary elections began Saturday and runs through June 8. In judicial races, if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, then the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November.

In the race for Supreme Court Seat G, appointed incumbent Justice Lidia Stiglich reported raising more than $530,000 this year.

Her only opponent, Clark County Family Court Judge Mathew Harter, reported raising $8,801.

Abbi Silver, the chief judge on the state Court of Appeals, was the only candidate to file for the open District F seat to replace retiring justice Michael Douglas. Judicial candidates with no opponents are barred from raising campaign money.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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