Sandoval leads Montandon in fundraising for governor’s race

The Nevada gubernatorial race came into sharper focus Tuesday with two Republican candidates disclosing their fundraising totals.

Former federal judge Brian Sandoval said he has raised $903,000 and has $756,000 in cash on hand.

Former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon has raised more than $300,000 and has about $50,000 on hand.

That leaves both candidates well behind presumed fundraising leader Rory Reid, the Clark County Commission chairman, who is expected to report more than $3 million in contributions and pledges by Friday, the state’s reporting deadline.

Confidants of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman say if he runs he can be competitive with the money leaders. And incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons hasn’t even hinted at how much he might have raised.

Sandoval, Montandon and Gibbons are vying for the Republican nomination. Reid is a Democrat, and Goodman would run as an independent if he decided to step in.

Sandoval said he is grateful for what he has raised since entering the race in September, after stepping down from his job as a judge.

“Having the resources to get my message out will be critical,” Sandoval said.

“If Reid really has $3 million, that tells me Sandoval is going to be spending a lot more time raising money than he probably would like to be,” said Eric Herzik, a University of Nevada, Reno, political science professor.

The most recent poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research shows Sandoval as the candidate in the GOP primary preferred by 39 percent of respondents, with Gibbons at 23 percent and Montandon at 7 percent.

General election scenarios show Sandoval beating Reid and in a statistical tie with Goodman. If Gibbons is the nominee and Goodman doesn’t run, Reid is favored.

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