Ben Kieckhefer, former press secretary to Gov. Jim Gibbons, reported a big fundraising advantage over dyed-in-the-wool conservative Assemblyman Ty Cobb in the primary race for the legislative seat vacated by Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno.
Kieckhefer reported raising $56,872 from January through May, the first fundraising period of 2010. Cobb reported raising $14,475.
The district, Washoe District 4, is largely Republican, and the winner of this primary won’t face a Democrat in the fall. That means the outcome on June 8 may influence the direction of the state senate. Kieckhefer is considered more moderate than Cobb and thus more likely to compromise with senate Democrats and the next governor when it comes time to balance a state budget that could be $3 billion in the red. Republicans Todd Bailey and Frank Wright also are in the primary. Independent American Party candidate, Ike Yochum, will face the winner in the general.
During the last cycle, Democratic leaders in the Senate needed at least two Republican defectors to override Gibbons’ vetoes and raise taxes. Townsend and Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, provided those votes.
Each candidate also carried over cash from last year. Kieckhefer reported raising $54,799 and spending just $13,236 in 2009. Cobb reported raising $123,219 and spending $50,194 last year.
Kieckhefer spent much of his money during the first period on advertising and production costs. His campaign made a splash with an ad that poked fun at Cobb for getting busted for smashing a sign touting the state senate campaign of Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno.
Cobb’s biggest spending was $15,800 to Las Vegas-based Advanced Micro Targeting, a firm that specializes in direct mail, polling and voter outreach. Cobb also spent $15,000 with j3 Strategies, a firm run by Robert Uithoven, lead consultant to U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden, who is among three Republicans with a shot at challenging Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the fall.
See the reports:
Ty Cobb campaign report (pdf)