62°F
weather icon Clear

Nevada’s election cycle calls for big bucks

CARSON CITY — With one of the most watched U.S. Senate races in country, a hotly contested gubernatorial race and a ballot measure that has seen more than $30 million in donations, the 2018 election cycle in Nevada will be anything but cheap.

Three of the top 10 donors are almost entirely focused on Question 3, the proposed constitutional amendment that would shake up how Nevadans get their electricity — and the margin between them and the rest of the list is miles wide. Three of the other top donors are deeply involved in the race to replace outgoing Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, and two of those are aligned with Democratic candidate Chris Giunchigliani.

Outside of the billionaires’ battle over Question 3, the list is dominated by national PACs and organizations from outside of Nevada that are pouring millions into various races up and down the ballot, as well as the attempt that Republicans started last year to recall three state senators.

Here are the top 10 donors who have contributed during the period from Jan. 1, 2017, through Friday’s campaign finance deadline:

1. NV Energy — $12.8 million

Nevada’s largest electricity provider has donated largely to the Coalition to Defeat Question 3. If Question 3 passes, NV Energy’s hold as an energy monopoly will be eliminated and consumers will be able to choose their electricity provider.

NV Energy , whose parent company is billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, also has donated to the campaigns of more than 50 candidates on both sides of the aisle, ranging from $500 to the maximum of $10,000.

2. Switch LTD — $11.3 million

The data center provider has poured its money into the groups pushing for the passage of Question 3. The tech company, founded by Rob Roy, has been critical of NV Energy’s practices, and in 2016 agreed to pay a $27 million exit fee to leave the utility altogether.

Switch also donated $75,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee, the group that funded the recall attempts of Democratic state Sens. Joyce Woodhouse and Nicole Cannizzaro and Independent Sen. Patricia Farley.

Switch also donated to two gubernatorial candidate PACs, giving $20,000 to Republican Adam Laxalt’s Morning in Nevada PAC and $15,000 to Democrat Steve Sisolak’s Sandstone PAC.

3. Sheldon Adelson/Las Vegas Sands Corp. — $9.5 million

Like the two donors above, almost all of the billionaire and Republican megadonor’s funds have gone to the fight over Question 3 — more than $9 million.

The donations to Nevada-based PACs and groups have come since the start of 2017 through either personal donations from Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, or through donations from various Sands companies.

Like Switch, Sands looked at leaving NV Energy, but it chose to stay rather than pay a $23.9 million exit fee.

Beyond Question 3 donations, much of Adelson’s support has been geared toward a handful of candidates. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson each donated $10,000 to Adam Laxalt’s campaign, while another $30,000 went to Laxalt from Las Vegas Sands, Sands Expo Center and the Venetian.

Other notable donations from Sands groups appear geared toward keeping state Sen. Tick Segerblom off the Clark County Board of Commissioners.

Sands companies donated a combined $30,000 to Segerblom’s Democratic primary opponent, Marco Hernandez, and another $30,000 to a group called Nevada Progressives United PAC. That group is tied to the Laborers Local 872, which has criticized Segerblom over his opposition to the Las Vegas Raiders Stadium. Hernandez is the vice president of the Laborers union.

4. Emily’s List — $2.17 million

The progressive group is backing Democrat Chris Giunchigliani, who is locked into a bitter battle for the party nomination for governor against fellow Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak.

Most of donations from the group, which aims to elect women to office across the country, have gone to the Women Vote! PAC, which has paid for a large number of mailers supporting Giunchigliani. The group also donated $150,000 to the committees fighting the Republican state senate recall efforts.

5. NextGen Climate Action — $2.16 million

Most of the money that the group tied to California billionaire Tom Steyer has put into the Silver State has gone to Nevadans for Clean Energy Future, the ballot measure that would force energy providers in Nevada to get at least 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Steyer’s group also donated roughly $100,000 to For Nevada’s Future, Against the Recall, a PAC formed to fend off the state senate recalls.

6. Jesse Sbaih — $2 million

Several candidates are self-funding their campaigns, including Republican governor candidates Jared Fisher and Dan Schwartz. But none of them lent their campaign as much as Las Vegas attorney Jesse Sbaih.

Of the roughly $2.15 million that Sbaih has reported raising in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary against Jacky Rosen, $2.05 million came as a personal loan.

But the question for Sbaih is how much of that he’ll spend.

In 2016, Sbaih ran against Rosen in the Democratic primary for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, and loaned his campaign $500,000 while raising an additional $267,000. But Sbaih only spent $240,000 during the campaign, and refunded the entire $500,000 loan according to federal campaign finance reports.

Thus far, Sbaih has spent $126,000 on campaign operating expenses.

7. Democratic Governors Association — $1.9 million

The national group that seeks to elect Democrat governors has jumped head on into trying to secure the election of Nevada’s first Democratic governor in two decades.

The group donated $1 million to the Democratic Governors Association — Nevada PAC, and $850,000 to the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which advocates for social and economic rights for workers.

The group also gave about $30,000 to the state Democratic Party.

8. National Education Association — $1.6 million

The parent of the state teachers union has thrown more than $1.2 million into Strong Public Schools Nevada, the PAC run by the Nevada State Education Association that is supporting Giunchigliani. Those donations make up two-thirds of the total donations that Strong Public Schools Nevada has received this year.

The national teachers group also gave $300,000 to Our Voice, Our Vote, another group formed to fight the recalls targeting Woodhouse, Cannizzaro and Farley.

9. Republican State Leadership Committee — $1.4 million

The group that works to elect Republicans to state legislatures spent nearly $1.4 million in the attempt to recall the trio of state senators.

The Farley recall failed to gather enough signatures to qualify. The others, targeting Woodhouse and Cannizzaro, did reach the signature threshold, but later failed after a judge ruled that people seeking to have their signatures removed from those recall petitions must be allowed to do so.

The RSLC was the only funding source for the recall campaigns, according to the finance reports.

10. Law & Justice PAC — $1.2 million

This national PAC with ties to liberal billionaire George Soros infused $1.2 million into a local PAC called Nevada Law & Justice PAC. The group has run ads attacking incumbent Democratic Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Jurors hear opening statements in Reid personal injury trial
Opening statements were made on Tuesday in the product liability lawsuit brought by Harry Reid against against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Mayor Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels
Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels to seniors on March 26, 2019.
Las Vegas City Council Ward 1 race
Candidates for Las Vegas City Council Ward 1. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O’Rourke campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke addresses attendees during a campaign stop at Arandas Taqueria in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O'Rourke House Party in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke delivered a message of unity inside a Las Vegas living room Saturday night, outlining a mission to bridge the divide in a polarized America and rally behind “big defining ambitions that we have in common.” (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks at Atomic Liquors
Democrat presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks to her supporters at Atomic Liquors.
Presidential candidate Gillibrand meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys at her first stop in Nevada as a candidate Thursday, March 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto promotes the Rebuild America’s Schools Act
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., co-sponsor of the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, speaks at Hoggard Elementary School in Las Vegas to promote the bill that would provide $100 billion for infrastructure improvements at schools across the country. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Scholar Max Eden on how restorative justice decreases student achievement - VIDEO
Across the country, restorative justice is lowering test scores and increasing the number of students who feel unsafe at schools. That’s according to Max Eden, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, who recently released a study discipline reform.
NV Dems Want To Gut Read By Three - Video
Nevada’s students have a major problem. They aren’t very good at reading. In 2017, just 31 percent of fourth graders were proficient at reading according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. The number proficient falls to 28 percent in eighth grade. Read by Three could change that. If a student can’t read at grade level by the end of third grade, he repeats the grade.
Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard stumps in Las Vegas
Presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, holds a meet and greet at the Asian Culture Center in downtown Las Vegas Monday, March 18, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nye County pushes back against state gun bill
Gun store owner Robby Brentlinger and John Koenig, Chairman of the Nye County Board of Commissioners, discuss their thoughts on gun rights and Nevada Senate Bill 143. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Atkinson pleads guilty
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Monday.
Atkinson pleads guilty to wire fraud charges
U.S. Attorney’s Office announces plea deal for charges against former Nevada Senate majority leader Kelvin Atkinson during a press conference on Monday, March 11, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleads guilty
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Monday, less than a week after resigning from his post. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Melania Trump Speaks Out About Opioid Epidemic - VIDEO
Melania Trump speaks at the Westgate hotel about the Opioid epidemic in the United State and how this generation can be the group that ends it.
Nevada Legislative Session Preview: Education, Yucca Mountain and Microchips
The Nevada Legislature will be meeting to look at new bills that involve education and marriage age restrictions. Governor Sisolak has also requested to meet with the White House about the plutonium shipments sent to Nevada.
Cortez Masto, Rosen For Infanticide - VIDEO
If an abortionist — armed with scissors, clamps and a vacuum cleaner — can’t kill a baby while she’s still in the womb, he shouldn’t get another chance after she’s born. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen disagree.
Abortion Bill Would Decriminalize Causing A Pregnant Woman To Miscarry - VIDEO
If abortion advocates believed their own rhetoric, they’d oppose the Trust Nevada Women Act.
Las Vegas city council candidate Diaz talks about Badlands, public safety and homelessness
The residents of Las Vegas’ Ward 3 aren’t thinking about the development issues surrounding Badlands golf course. They do, however, want more neighborhood police patrols to increase public safety. Other jurisdictions should help the City of Las Vegas with its growing homelessness population. That’s according to former Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz who’s running for the Ward 3 city council seat.
Nevada State Senate Looks At Red Light Cameras - VIDEO
The Nevada State Senate looks at a bill that will add red light cameras to all of the traffic lights in Las Vegas.
THE LATEST