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Supporters giving big to Nevada Senate candidates

Allies of U.S. Rep. Joe Heck and former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto are putting money into both campaigns, as the fundraising ramps up for the high-profile candidates as they prepare to face off in a closely watched U.S. Senate election.

The 2016 race for the seat of retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, will be nationally watched. It’s one of a few in which Republicans have a chance of picking up a seat. Heck, representing Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, is running for the Republican nomination, and Masto is seeking the Democratic nod. So far, political groups tied to senators from both parties are pouring money into the race.

Heck’s campaign finance report shows:

—The 14 top givers from political action committees donated $10,000 apiece, the maximum allowed in an election cycle. Seven of them are tied to Republican senators, who gained control of the U.S. Senate in the 2014 election. They are: Orrin PAC, tied to Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah; Heller Highwater PAC, which is Sen. Dean Heller’s leadership PAC; the Freedom Fund PAC, which is tied to Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho; and Co mmon Values PAC, a group sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming. Like Heck, Barrasso is a medical doctor. Heck also has support from GOP senators outside the West, including $10,000 from the Defend America PAC of Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, and $10,000 from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Bluegrass Committee PAC.

— Heck, also a brigadier general in the Army Reserve, has support from the medical industry and groups tied to military contractors among the other $10,000 givers. They include Boeing Company PAC, Lockheed Martin Employees PAC, National Emergency Medicine PAC and the American Academy of Dermatology PAC.

— Heck, who announced July 6 he’s running for Senate, put $2.8 million into his campaign fund in the first quarter, which ended Sept. 30. Of that amount, $1.32 million came from individual and committee donations. Another $1.4 million was transferred from Heck’s existing congressional campaign fund, which received donations before he announced his Senate bid.

For Masto, 15 political action committees have reached the $10,000 limit:

— Donors include the Searchlight Leadership Fund PAC, which is Reid’s group. Reid is backing Masto to replace him. Another is the Committee for Hispanic Causes/Building Our Leadership Diversity PAC.

— Groups tied to Democratic senators are lining up to boost her campaign. They include: Great Lakes PAC, tied to Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; America Works PAC, tied to Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Treasure State PAC, which is affiliated with Sen. Jon Tester of Montana; and Prairie State PAC, tied to Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. Other $10,000 givers include political action committees tied to Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both of New York; and Patty Murray of Washington.

— Others include Border Health Federal PAC, a group that represents medical professionals along the Texas/Mexico border; and American Association for Justice PAC, which focuses on civil justice issues; and Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Political Action League.

— Between April and Sept. 30, Masto has raised $2.27 million in contributions from individuals and political groups.

One gaming company is hedging its bets, a reflection that the race will be a tossup. Caesars Entertainment Corporation PAC has given $10,000 to both campaigns.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.


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