Republican group makes last-minute push for down-ballot candidates including Roberson, Cegavske

A national Republican group focused on down-ballot races is making a last-minute push for candidates running for lieutenant governor, secretary of state and two Assembly seats.

The Republican State Leadership Committee has in the past week launched ads or microsites supporting lieutenant governor candidate Michael Roberson, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and Assembly candidates Jill Dickman and Stephen Silberkraus, both of whom are trying to reclaim their seats in the Assembly after losing close races in 2016.

The biggest spending comes in the state’s race for lieutenant governor, where the organization launched a six-figure digital ad campaign attacking Democratic candidate Kate Marshall for her alleged “horrific record of mismanagement” while she was state treasurer. It also launched an attack website called that cites a 2010 Reno Gazette-Journal article citing a shortfall in the state’s budget account for college scholarships and for Marshall increasing her office’s budget by nearly $2 million.

In a response, Mashall’s campaign said the budget was higher because her predecessor, Brian Krockli, kept several of the office’s accounts off-the-books (which resulted in Krolocki’s indictment), and that she worked to fund the scholarship account after lawmakers took $5 million from the account in 2010 and 2011 to bridge shortfalls in the state budget.

“Contrary to the lies Michael Roberson and his friends are spreading, Kate Marshall saved the taxpayer(s) over $2 million dollars and saved the Millennium Scholarship,” her campaign manager Anna Scanlon said in an email. “If Michael Roberson understood how the state’s budget worked, he’d recognize that.”

The RSLC has also launched microsites supporting Cegavske ( and similar education-themed sites supporting Dickman and Silberkraus. Both candidates are running in districts with nearly even or Republican-leaning electorates and against candidates they defeated in 2014 — Dickman against Democrat Skip Daly and Silberkraus against Democrat Lesley Cohen.

A spokesman for the group declined to say why it had decided to get involved in those specific races, though Dickman and Silberkraus represent some of the party’s best chances to pick up seats in the Assembly.

RSLC has reported raising more than $9.7 million throughout 2018, and spending more than $210,000 primarily on the efforts to recall two state senators earlier this year. On their most recent campaign finance report filed with the Nevada secretary of state, the organization reported transferring $5,000 each to Cegavske and Republican lieutenant governor hopeful Roberson, who was a member of the RSLC’s 2017 executive committee.

Republicans plan campaign for deceased Hof to keep Assembly seat

Dennis Hof sits between two women

Nevada Republicans are planning a campaign to persuade voters to cast ballots for former Assembly candidate and brothel owner Dennis Hof, who died suddenly on Tuesday, a knowledgeable source confirmed Wednesday.

Although details are sparse, the effort is a clear indication of Republican efforts to ensure they hold a reliably Republican-leaning Assembly District despite the untimely death of the candidate.

Under Nevada law, any candidate who dies after the fourth Friday in July is required to still appear on the ballot, although the county clerk is also required to post a notice that the candidate is deceased at every polling place.

Hof, who died Tuesday just two days after his 72nd birthday, upset Assemblyman James Oscarson in the district’s Republican primary in June. After Hof’s victory, several major Republican Party candidates including gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, Gov. Brian Sandoval, lieutenant governor candidate Michael Roberson and attorney general candidate Wes Duncan said they would not support the gregarious brothel owner’s candidacy.

The Assembly Republican Caucus voted after the election to not endorse or support any candidate, though caucus leader Jim Wheeler said earlier this month that he hoped Hof wins his race.

State law holds that if the deceased candidate wins an election, the office is considered vacated and must be filled by the board of county commissioners with a person of the same political party. In districts that cover more than one county, state law lays out a complex procedure for filling vacancies where each commission meets separately, nominates a person who lives in the district, and then meet to vote based on the proportional share of the population in each county.

Although Assembly District 36 covers three counties, the bulk of the population is in Nye County, meaning any replacement decision would effectively be made by the Nye County Commission.

A tweet sent Wednesday afternoon from Hof’s campaign Twitter account urged voters to still cast their ballot for Hof so the seat could be filled by a Republican.

Hof will appear on the ballot against Lesia Romanov, a school administrator who is the only other candidate running for the seat. She reported raising over $35,000 since the start of 2018, including $7,000 from Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson.

Romanov was expected to face an uphill climb to victory. The most recent voter registration statistics for the district show Republicans hold a 8,300 advantage in registered voters over Democrats, out of more than 43,500 registered voters.

Oscarson told The Nevada Independent on Tuesday that it was “premature” to discuss regaining the seat through the appointment process.

Brothel owner, Assembly candidate Dennis Hof dead at 72

Nevada brothel owner and Assembly candidate Dennis Hof, a larger-than-life personality who was unapologetic about selling sex even amid rising criticism of the industry and who proclaimed himself the “Trump of Pahrump” as his political star ascended this year, has died just two days after his 72nd birthday.

Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said Hof had gone to sleep at the Love Ranch South in Crystal and did not wake up. Authorities, who were summoned around 11 a.m. on reports that Hof was unresponsive, have said there are no obvious signs of foul play.

“Right now, on its face. it looks like a normal death, but we are taking precautions and doing an autopsy,” said Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly, whose agency also confirmed the death with a statement posted on its Facebook page.

Just hours earlier, Hof celebrated his birthday along with longtime friend and pornographic actor Ron Jeremy, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.

“The birthday party was last night at the Pahrump Nugget,” Wehrly said. “From what I understand, it was fine.”

His campaign consultant, Chuck Muth, tweeted that Jeremy found him Tuesday morning when he tried to wake Hof up to attend a lunch at the Pahrump Senior Center.

Norquist said in an email to The Nevada Independent that Hof seemed in high spirits on Monday as he held court at the party, which was scheduled to come on the heels of four days of celebration that included a cathouse crawl.

“He MC’ed the event last night for 3 hours. He had the crowd in stitches, regaling us all with stories from his work and campaign. He liked people and that crowd loved him back. Amazing to watch,” Norquist wrote. “He was full of life and energy last night and it is a very difficult to realize we lost him.”

Brothel owner Dennis Hof displays one of his signature cigars flanked by two of his employees, Aspen North and Knowme Thursday afternoon at his Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Mound House on May 17, 2018. Photo by John Byrne.

Election questions

Hof’s death comes three weeks before Election Day, when he was expected to cruise easily to victory in a heavily Republican rural Assembly district.

"I just think it’s a shame that what a lot of us were all looking forward to we won’t get to see," said Muth, who is writing a book about Hof's upset victory and said he never thought this would be the final chapter. "He was going to be the Uber and AirBNB in politics. He was going to totally disrupt politics in Nevada."

Hof was unabashed about his work as a legal pimp, but his bravado made many in the Republican establishment uneasy and questions lingered about whether he would be isolated from his legislator peers in the upcoming legislative session.

Now they’re grappling with their next steps electorally.

Hof’s name will still remain on the ballot for the November election. Nevada law specifies that candidates who die after the fourth Friday in July will still appear there, but the county clerk must post a notice that the candidate is deceased at every polling place.

If the deceased candidate receives a majority of the votes, the office is vacated and must be filled as if the candidate died in office. Nevada’s Constitution requires that the board of county commissioners fill any vacant legislative seat with a person of the same political party.

For vacancies in districts that cover more than one county, state law sets forward a complicated procedure where each County Commission meets separately and nominates a person to fill the seat, and then the chairmen of those commissions will meet and cast votes proportional to the share of the population of the district in each county..

If no nominee wins a plurality, the county commissions must then meet, each select a nominee, and decide the nominee by “drawing lots.” Assembly District 36 covers parts of Clark, Nye and Lincoln counties. (Nye County effectively has the deciding vote because its residents form the largest share of the district’s population, according to Assembly Republican Leader Jim Wheeler.)

Democrat Lesia Romanov, a school administrator and political newcomer, is the only other candidate running for the seat. Immediately after the news broke, Romanov told the Las Vegas Review Journal that she was “stunned.”

“This is not anything we anticipated,” she said. “And really we send out our condolences to those who cared about him. Obviously he was my opponent, but I would never wish anything like this on a person.”

Hof isn’t the first political candidate who has died this cycle. John Wagner, an Independent American Party activist who was running for the state Senate District 16 seat, died at the end of August, according to The Nevada Appeal. Wayne Thorley, deputy secretary of state for elections, said notices also will be posted at the polling places where Wagner’s name appears on the ballot.

“It is rare, but it has happened twice now this year,” Thorley said, referring to candidate deaths.

The looming question is whether voters will cast enough ballots for Hof — despite his death — to catapult him to victory. Nevada voters faced a similar situation in the 2006 primary election after the death of Kathy Augustine, a Republican running for state treasurer. Augustine died weeks before the election after being murdered by her husband. Because of the close proximity, her name remained on the primary ballot. She received about 20 percent of the votes, but her opponent, Mark DeStefano, won with roughly 43 percent of the votes.

Dennis Hof, brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly 36 attends the Nye County Commission meeting in Pahrump on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

An unusual trajectory

Born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1946, Hof started out with a paper route at age 9 and then migrated to a more steady job: “You couldn’t get laid without a car, so I got motivated and went to work at a local gas station,” he wrote in his 2015 autobiography, “Art of the Pimp.”

He made side money by helping girls deceive their parents about who they were dating. He would show up at their homes looking clean-cut and make polite conversation with the parents about taking their daughter on a date, then take the girl to the boy she was actually with and who the parents didn’t approve of.

“Sometimes I did this three and four times a night, and looking back, I can see that was where I first started developing the negotiating skills that later turned me into a master salesman,” he wrote.

Driven by wisdom gleaned from Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living,” he went on to buy a handful of gas stations. He first patronized Nevada brothels on a father-son road trip in the early 1970s as the gas crisis eased and his financial fortunes rose; he returned many times after that as his marriage fell apart.

“It would be more accurate to say that I had fallen madly in love with prostitutes,” he wrote. “in Nevada I could be my true self. If I wanted to f*** three times a day and more, I did. And the more I f***ed, the better I felt. I wasn’t worried about the Meaning of Life anymore. I knew what it was.”

He bought the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in 1992 with dreams of making it better than the Mustang Ranch owned by the notorious Joe Conforte, who fled to Brazil to avoid prison time for tax evasion in the early 1990s. He fixed up the business, tried to coach the working girls on negotiating their own prices rather than setting a fixed rate, and rebranded the place “Dennis Hof’s World Famous Moonlite BunnyRanch.”

Hof became synonymous with Nevada’s legal brothels through his bombastic, media-friendly personality, rubbing elbows with famous porn actors including Jeremy and taking a starring role in HBO’s Cathouse reality series, which ran for more than a decade. Eminently quotable and with a knack for grabbing a headline, he corralled his working girls in a “Hookers for Hillary” campaign and brought prostitutes to the Legislature in 2011 to steal some of the limelight from then-Sen. Harry Reid, who gave a speech that called for the end of legal brothels.

“We're always looking for something to get us on 'Saturday Night Live' or on the late-night shows. I'm good at that," Hof said in a 2015 interview with Business Insider.

His interests turned more political in recent years, culminating with a failed run as a Libertarian against Pahrump-area Assemblyman James Oscarson in 2016. Defeated, Hof changed his party registration and defeated Oscarson by 6.3 points in a GOP primary upset in June to represent the rural Assembly district. During the campaign, Hof had hammered Oscarson for his vote for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s Commerce Tax and countered with promises to repeal the tax and oppose all other tax hikes going forward.

“I believe his victory was a powerful signal to candidates across Nevada that tax hikes are political poison and the Nevada GOP was well on its way to rediscovering its Reagan/Laxalt roots,” Norquist wrote.

Hof was poised to face Romanov in the general election in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 8,300 voters, a double-digit margin.

But Hof’s candidacy was accompanied by increased scrutiny on his relationship with brothel workers, several of whom said that he initiated unwanted sexual contact with them. Hof has openly acknowledged that he had sex with many of the women who worked in his brothels, although he called the allegations of sexual assault politically motivated and sought to discredit the women who lodged them.

Nevertheless, the Nevada Department of Public Safety launched a probe into allegations of sexual assault by Hof in September of this year. The investigation continues, and the agency declined to offer further details on its status on Tuesday.

Legal brothels overall have come under increased scrutiny this year, and Lyon County voters will weigh in on an advisory question this November aimed at directing the commission whether to ban them. Hof owned all four of the brothels licensed in the county.

Earlier this month, Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil told commissioners that the county had long had inadequate screening procedures for prostitute work cards that could be exploited for human trafficking and organized crime. Immigration Customs Enforcement agents and deputies conducted a joint check of the brothels

The brothels have also been the site of overdoses and near-overdoses: NBA star Lamar Odom was found unconscious in the Love Ranch South in 2015 with cocaine in his system, although he was not charged because prosecutors could not say with confidence that he ingested the cocaine in Nye County.

In a March 2014 incident that has not been widely reported, a 43-year-old prostitute was found dead at Hof’s Sagebrush Ranch Brothel in Mound House. The coroner determined the woman had died of an accidental overdose of methamphetamine, methadone and oxycodone.

The Nye County Commission also temporarily shut down the Love Ranch in August, citing late brothel licensing fees and other unresolved violations. A federal judge ordered it reopened a few weeks later.

Hof had intentions to divest of his brothels to avoid distractions and focus on politics, according to Muth, and had sold one in Southern Nevada ahead of the primary with plans to sell the Love Ranch South. In recent weeks, he also showed signs of health problems — he was out of state for surgery on cataracts twice in the past few months, and he had diabetes and knee troubles.

But his innovating — and efforts to garner headlines — didn’t appear to be slowing down. In May, he announced plans to create an anti-aging medical rejuvenation center outside of Carson City that would offer treatments for balding and erectile dysfunction. He announced earlier this month that he was looking into the possibility of bringing sex robots to the brothels.

“We want them to come to us and show us the best ones to use, any companies out there that think they are wanting to partner with us contact us immediately. I want to have this going before the end of this year,” Hof said in a statement.

The death of Hof, by far the most recognized of brothel owners, raises questions about the future of the businesses. 

"Dennis was very well prepared for something like this to happen," Muth said, adding that a trust had been set up and he believed longtime madam Suzette Cole would inherit the businesses.

George Flint, a longtime lobbyist for Nevada’s brothel industry, said he believes there’s a “strong possibility” that Hof’s death could negatively affect the campaign to outlaw brothels in Lyon County. Beyond that, Flint declined to speculate about what might happen to Hof’s brothels or the legalized sex industry at large.

“I think at this point we’re just going to have to sit back and cool our jets,” he said by phone Tuesday.

Muth said the brothel supporters planned to continue on with a forum they scheduled for Thursday to fight against the ban, on the basis that they think Hof would have wanted them to continue with the event.

A billboard for Dennis Hof as seen in Pahrump on Thursday, March 15, 2018. Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent

Strained relationships

After his primary victory in June, several prominent Republicans distanced themselves from him. Gov. Brian Sandoval, gubernatorial nominee Adam Laxalt, lieutenant governor nominee Michael Roberson, attorney general nominee Wes Duncan and Sen. Dean Heller all said they wouldn’t support Hof’s candidacy.

Hof didn’t seem to mind the negativity from his Republican peers. Muth had told The Nevada Independent that it could actually benefit Hof during the election.

“I think this is actually going to help Dennis, and it’s probably going to hurt those guys more,” Muth said in June. (He added that Hof would still support the Republican nominees who conspicuously ditched him.)

Earlier this month, Assembly Republican Leader Jim Wheeler said that he hoped Hof would win his legislative race even though the caucus voted not to endorse the brothel owner after his primary victory in June.

The caucus issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was “saddened” by the news of his death and sending condolences to his family and friends “during this challenging time.”

Reached by phone on Tuesday, Oscarson, who lost a bitter campaign to Hof in June, declined to discuss whether he would seek to retain the seat through the appointment process.

“I think any conversation about that is premature,” he said, noting that he wanted to be respectful of the loss. “Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

As for his personal life, Hof’s book describes a long list of wives and girlfriends through his life, but also of strained relationships with his mother and immediate family. He wrote that he had two daughters from his first marriage who took money from him decades ago and had never explained their actions or sought forgiveness. As of the writing, they had not reconciled.

“And as I sit here writing this it brings tears to my eyes because my two daughters no longer exist,” he wrote.

The brothel owner was not particularly religious. He wrote that his Catholic mother made him attend service each week until one of his friends was molested by a priest and his father, apoplectic, banned him church ever again. Interviewed by Sean Hannity 11 years ago about the morality of being in the sex industry, he betrayed an agnosticism.

“I believe there’s something. I’m not a big believer in God at all,” he said. “I think there’s something.”

Updated at 4:45 p.m. with additional details and at 7:10 p.m. with comments from Chuck Muth.

Assembly GOP leader says he hopes Dennis Hof wins election to Legislature

The leader of the Nevada Assembly Republican caucus says he hopes brothel owner Dennis Hof wins his legislative race in November, after much of the state’s political establishment have distanced themselves from his candidacy.

Although the Assembly Republican caucus itself voted to not endorse or support any candidates following Hof’s victory over incumbent Assemblyman James Oscarson in the state’s June primary, caucus leader Jim Wheeler said in an email to Hof this week that he would “automatically” become a member of the caucus if he wins in November and wished him luck on his campaign.

“Since the voters of your district chose to elect you in the primary, I personally hope that you and all other Republican primary winners win in the general election,” he said in the email, which was first published on Hof’s campaign website and obtained by The Nevada Independent. “I look forward to working with all the new Republicans in the caucus, as well as our returning members, in the new session on issues important to the caucus, your constituents, and the citizens of Nevada.”

Wheeler said in a follow up call with The Nevada Independent that the caucus would not be spending any financial resources or campaign for Hof in the Pahrump-centered Assembly District.

The Nevada Department of Public Safety is currently investigating allegations of sexual assault against Hof, and several former employees of the 71-year-old brothel owner and reality TV star have gone public with allegations of unwelcome sexual contact from their former employer. Hof has never been charged or convicted of a crime related to the allegations.

Other Nevada Republicans, including gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt, Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller, attorney general candidate Wes Duncan and Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson have said publicly that they would not support Hof’s candidacy.

Hof is facing off against Democratic candidate Lesia Romanov, a public school assistant principal, in November.

Read more about that race in our Elections section.

Obama endorses additional 12 Nevada Democratic candidates ahead of midterms

Former President Barack Obama has officially endorsed another 12 Nevada Democrats on the 2018 ballot as part of a second wave of more than 260 midterm endorsements nationwide.

Obama previously endorsed a slew of Democratic candidates in the state, including gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, U.S. Senate candidate Jacky Rosen and congressional candidates Susie Lee and Steven Horsford.

He added to that list of endorsements by backing three statewide candidates — lieutenant governor candidate Kate Marshall, attorney general candidate Aaron Ford and secretary of state candidate Nelson Araujo — as well as Clint Koble, the Democrat running in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

He also issued endorsements for state Senate candidate Melanie Scheible and Assembly incumbents Brittney Miller, Jason Frierson, Steve Yeager, Ozzie Fumo, Lesley Cohen, Sandra Jauregui and Assembly candidate Michelle Gorelow.

In 2016, Obama endorsed Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto, congressional candidates Rosen and Ruben Kihuen and 12 legislative candidates.

Disclosure: Steve Sisolak and Susie Lee have donated to The Indy. You can view a full list of our donors here.

Assembly candidate Dennis Hof loses Nye County brothel license; commissioners cite unresolved violations

Nye County authorities say workers at Republican Assembly candidate Dennis Hof’s Love Ranch Brothel surrendered their work cards, brothel license and liquor license “without a problem” Tuesday after commissioners voted not to renew the permits.

Commissioners had cited a late renewal application, as well as three violations over the past two years that had apparently not all been resolved, as the reason for denying the licenses. Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said there was some initial resistance when she sought to enforce the vote.

“The Executive Manager for Dennis Hof contacted the Sheriff and indicated that they would not allow the Nye County Sheriff's Deputies on the premises. Therefore, a warrant was submitted and granted by Pahrump Justice of the Peace Margaret Whittaker to enter and retrieve the licenses and the work cards,” Wehrly said in a statement. “Upon arrival, the Brothel personnel opened their doors to the Nye County Sheriff's Deputies, surrendered the licenses and the work cards without a problem. There was no confrontation on either side and we were informed an appeal will be forthcoming.”

Eighteen people were licensed to work at the Love Ranch,  including 11 prostitutes and seven other staffers, according to Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly. The revocation means Hof no longer has any licensed brothels in Nye County.

It wasn’t immediately clear what direction the brothel workers were given in the meantime.

Messages left for Hof Tuesday night and Wednesday morning also went unanswered. A woman who answered the phone at the brothel on Wednesday morning referred questions to Hof’s assistant, who referred questions to Hof’s Assembly campaign adviser Chuck Muth.

“My understanding is that Dennis has been speaking with his attorney this morning and intends some sort of legal action,” Muth said in an email. “What I do know is that Dennis had no plans to end operations at the Love Ranch South.”

At the meeting, commissioners — acting as the county’s liquor and licensing board — voted 3-2  to revoke the brothel license, with Wehrly abstaining. The sheriff cited ongoing court cases and her inability to consult with an attorney as the reason for her abstention. Commissioners John Koenig and Donna Cox opposed the motion.

Commissioner Lorinda Wichman pointed to violations from Oct. 2016, May 2017 and July 2017 as reason not to renew the license. She also said fees were not paid until July 27, which was late — renewal applications are supposed to be submitted no later than 30 days before the expiration of a license.

“We have the duty as this board to see that this chapter is faithfully enforced,” Wichman said. “With these violations and some with no resolution that I can see, there is no option in my mind and no way I can give a vote for this.”

Wichman and Commissioner Dan Schinhofen also accused Hof of providing false testimony at a hearing in February.

“Mr. Hof has shown himself to be dishonest and lying under oath,” Schinhofen said.

Muth didn’t directly address the allegations that Hof lied to the board. Commissioners said Hof was not present at the meeting and was out of state for medical care.

The revocation comes a few weeks after a failed attempt by brothel opponents to put a brothel ban advisory question on the November ballot. A similar advisory question is moving forward in Lyon County, where Hof also owns brothels.

Without Love Ranch, there are three other brothels in Nye County — Sheri’s Ranch, the Alien Cathouse (formerly owned by Hof) and the Chicken Ranch. In fiscal year 2017, Nye County collected $141,779 in revenue from worker registration cards and brothel license fees.

Hof is the Republican nominee for Assembly District 36, which includes Nye and several other counties and has a wide Republican voter registration advantage. He’ll face Democrat Lesia Romanov, an assistant principal in the Clark County School District, in the November general election.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2018 to reflect that 18 work cards include staff and prostitutes.


Dennis Hof plans billboard campaign naming Heller and Laxalt — after they disavowed him

Brothel owner and Republican Assembly candidate Dennis Hof says he’s preparing a billboard campaign that links himself with Dean Heller and Adam Laxalt — two prominent Republican candidates who distanced themselves from him shortly after his primary victory.

Hof said an order was placed Monday for billboard trucks, billboard trailers, and more than a dozen static billboards that say “The Winning Team! Laxalt-Hof-Heller.” He said the signs should be posted within a few days and will run for about a month at locations inside and outside of Assembly District 36, where he’s running and which includes Nye and portions of various other counties.

“It is an off-handed F-U,” Hof said, adding that “hell yes it’s going to help them.”

A screenshot of Assembly candidate Dennis Hof's planned billboards on Aug. 7, 2018.

Heller’s campaign said such a sign would be illegal because it’s apparently paid for by Home of Freedom PAC, which is a state-registered entity.

“Dean Heller has made it clear he does not support Dennis Hof,” said Heller campaign spokesman Keith Schipper. “This is being done by a third party and we assume that these billboards will not actually be displayed since it would be illegal for a state PAC to promote a federal candidate.”

In response, Hof later tweeted that he would change the disclosure to read "Paid for by Dennis Hof."

The Laxalt campaign didn’t immediately reply to an inquiry about whether it would seek to stop the use of Laxalt's name on the billboards because he doesn't want to campaign with Hof.

A few days before the June primary, Laxalt’s campaign had sent a cease-and-desist letter to Hof’s opponent, caucus-endorsed incumbent Assemblyman James Oscarson, telling him that Laxalt had not endorsed Oscarson or anyone in the race.

“It was a grave error and unacceptable for any Adam Laxalt references of images to be featured in Oscarson 2018 campaign material. Please remove Adam Laxalt references, quotes, photos, and likeness from all campaign material immediately,” wrote Laxalt campaign Kristin Davison.

Soon after Hof defeated Oscarson in the primary, a cascade of top Republicans announced they wouldn’t support his candidacy.

Attorney General Laxalt, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, was first to do so in a radio interview the morning after the election. Then, Gov. Brian Sandoval, attorney general candidate Wes Duncan, lieutenant governor candidate Michael Roberson and Sen. Dean Heller followed suit. Later, the Assembly Republican Caucus said it wouldn’t endorse Hof.

“Adam respects the will of the voters in District 36. However, as a husband and a father of two young daughters, he has stated that he will not be supporting Mr. Hof’s campaign,” Laxalt campaign spokesman Parker Briden told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in June.

Hof is unabashed about his profession, which has given some Nevada leaders heartburn. Several women who previously worked in the brothels have accused him in media and police reports of sexual assault or unwanted sexual advances, although prosecutors have not filed charges in those cases (at least one report was filed after the expiration of a four-year statute of limitations).

Hof has called the allegations unsubstantiated and says they’re the work of his political opponents.

In spite of the Republicans’ trepidation about Hof, he is poised for a victory in the district because of its 19-point Republican registration advantage. He’ll face off with Democrat Lesia Romanov, a teacher and political newcomer who hopes to pick up Republican votes and has taken centrist positions, including an openness to school choice and opposition to expanded gun control measures.

“We don’t want our Legislature to be an embarrassment across the nation,” she said in an interview last week with KNPR. “With my opponent, I see that his focus is how can he get more media coverage. How can he get more business for his own businesses.”

Hof said he’s planning to work with whoever is willing to join him if he’s elected and then excluded from the Republican caucus. He also said he would also be interested in deposing Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, the leader of the GOP caucus that said it won’t endorse or support any candidate in the AD36 race.

At the same time, he said he’s still supporting Laxalt and Heller in the name of party unity.

“I’m going to be above these guys even though they’re not supporting me,” Hof said. “I’m a good team player.”

Updated at 4:10 p.m. on Aug. 7, 2018 to reflect Hof changing the disclosure on the ad.

Indy Primer: What races to watch for on Primary Election Day

After months of campaigning and millions of dollars expended on ads and voter outreach, Nevada’s primary election is finally here.

Not only will the results of today’s election set in place the top contests on the November ballot, including one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate battles in the country and an open gubernatorial seat, but many important races will be effectively decided based on Tuesday’s results, including a seat on the powerful Clark County Commission and the county’s district attorney.

Voting will be open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with results trickling in after polls close. More than 157,000 people cast ballots during the state’s two-week early voting period, and more than 22,000 cast absentee or mail ballots ahead of Election Day. More than 93,000 people, or 39 percent of the final electorate, turned out on Election Day for the 2016 primary election.

Today is also the first day that Clark County is using vote centers, polling places where anyone can go on election day instead of a traditional assigned precinct. Find the one nearest to your home or place of work here. In Washoe County, you can find your precinct here if you know your precinct number or search for it here.

Here’s a quick look at what you need to know today:

The basics


  • The big race to watch today is the competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary between Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani. Sisolak, buoyed by support from former Sen. Harry Reid, has raised massive sums over the last year and a half and spent much of it on advertisements, but Giunchigliani has also raised a sizable amount and has been boosted by millions of dollars in outside spending and a late endorsement from Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, Attorney General Adam Laxalt is expected to cruise to victory against state Treasurer Dan Schwartz and businessman Jared FisherFor more on the candidate’s records:
    Steve Sisolak | Chris Giunchigliani | Adam Laxalt | Dan Schwartz
  • Republican state Senate Leader Michael Roberson is facing primary challenges from former Assemblyman Brent Jones, businessman Eugene Hoover, Scott LaFata and Gary Meyers in his bid to replace Lieutenant Gov. Mark Hutchison. Former state Treasurer Kate Marshall is expected to easily win the state’s Democratic primary election against Laurie HansenFor more on the candidate’s records:
    Michael Roberson | Kate Marshall
  • As Attorney General Adam Laxalt pursues a bid for Nevada’s top office, a host of candidates are vying to replace them. Former first assistant attorney general Wes Duncan will face off against former Clark County deputy district attorney Craig Mueller in the Republican primary. State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford is expected to cruise to victory in the Democratic primary. For more on the candidate’s records:
    Wes Duncan | Craig Mueller | Aaron Ford
  • Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is expected to easily fend off a primary challenge from political unknown Ernest Aldridge. Democratic Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, who announced his plan to challenge Cegavske in March, isn’t facing any primary challenges.
  • Republicans Derek Uehara and former Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Beers are facing off in the Republican primary for state treasurer, which is being vacated by incumbent Dan Schwartz. Democrat Zach Conine, who has outpaced both Republicans in fundraising, is not facing a primary challenge. There will be no primaries for the state’s candidates for state controller -- incumbent Republican Ron Knecht and Democrat Catherine Byrne.
  • Three seats on the Nevada Supreme Court are up on the ballot in 2018, but primary voters will only get a say in the race for retiring Justice Michael Cherry’s seat. District Court Judge Elissa Cadish has led the field in the fundraising in the nonpartisan statewide race, with Appeals Court Judge Jerry Tao, Leon Aberasturi, Alan Lefebvre and John Rutledge. The top two vote getters will advance to the general election.

U.S. Senate and House races:

  • Although it will likely be one of the top midterm races in the county come November, both Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen are expected to easily cruise to victory on Tuesday. Heller has faced little-to-no intraparty opposition since one-time challenger Danny Tarkanian jumped into the race for the state’s 3rd Congressional District in March, prompted by a tweet from the president. Rosen faces little threat from her five primary opponents, including attorney Jesse Sbaih, who ran against Rosen for Congress in 2016 and loaned $2 million to his primary campaign this year but has spent little of it.
  • Businessman Danny Tarkanian is the favorite to win the Republican primary in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District (again), but it’s still possible he could face an upset from state Sen. Scott Hammond or former television news reporter Michelle Mortensen.  Whoever comes out on top from this bitter primary will likely face Democratic education advocate and philanthropist Susie Lee, who faces little threat in her primary, on the November ballot. For more on the candidate’s records:
    Scott Hammond | David McKeon | Michelle Mortensen | Danny Tarkanian | Susie Lee
  • In Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, a crowded field of Democratic candidates are vying to replace Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who decided not to run for office after a series of allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in December. The presumed frontrunner is former Rep. Steven Horsford, who represented the district from 2013 to 2015, though he faces serious primary challengers in the form of state Sen. Pat Spearman, Nevada System of Higher Education regent Allison Stephens and Medicare for All activist Amy Vilela. Here’s what you need to know about the candidates. On the Republican side, former Rep. Cresent Hardy has significantly outraised his five primary opponents. For more on the candidate’s records:
    Steven Horsford | Pat Spearman | Allison Stephens | Amy Vilela
  • Six Democrats are vying for the honor of making a longshot run for Republican Rep. Mark Amodei’s seat in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District. No Democrat has ever come within five points of defeating a Republican for the seat. Amodei is facing a primary challenge from former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, who has lagged him in fundraising.
  • Democratic Rep. Dina Titus is facing a primary challenge in Nevada’s 1st Congressional District from underdog teacher Reuben D’Silva in the state’s most Democratic district in terms of voter registration.


  • Nine Assembly and three state Senate seats will effectively be decided on primary night, although Democrats are essentially guaranteed to keep control of both houses in November. Here’s a rundown of what races to keep an eye on tonight.

Clark County

  • Down South, there are two primaries for the Clark County School District Board of Trustees in District D and District F. Here’s what to look for.
  • Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson is trying to fend off a late challenge from longtime criminal defense attorney Robert Langford, who has been boosted by millions in outside money from national progressive groups. Because both candidates are Democrats and no other candidates filed to run, the race will be decided on Tuesday. For more on the candidate’s records, here’s Steve Wolfson and Rob Langford’s On the Record.
  • Control of a seat on the Clark County Commission will effectively be decided Tuesday, with likely frontrunners including state Sen. Tick Segerblom and union organizer Marco Hernandez. The district, which is currently held by Giunchigliani, has an overwhelming Democratic advantage in voter registration, so the winner will likely have an easy path to victory in November.
  • Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo is hoping to avoid a runoff election with any of his four challengers, including former North Las Vegas police lieutenant Tim Bedwell, by capturing more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday. Lombardo, who won an initial four-year term in 2014, has significantly outraised his opponents and can automatically capture another term if he garners a majority vote.

Washoe County

  • Voters in Washoe County will head to the polls to choose their party’s nominees in primaries for Reno mayor and City Council, Sparks mayor and City Council, Washoe County Commission. This overview narrows what to watch for up north today.

Disclosure: Several Indy donors are mentioned in this story. You can see a full list of donors here.

Indy Primer: Everything you need to know about the battle for control of the Legislature ahead of the primary

Democrats are likely to hold onto their majorities in both houses of the Legislature come November, even if they don’t win any swing seats.

That’s why the party is now angling for a veto-proof two-thirds majority in both houses, allowing Democrats to override any veto from the a potential Republican governor. It’s a long shot — Democrats would need to win five seats that lean Democratic and three of the four swing seats in the Assembly, as well as all three swing seats in the Senate — but not impossible.

Much of that political calculus will be determined based on the results of the state’s June 12 primary election, where at least nine Assembly and three state Senate races will effectively be decided on primary night. And the outcome of two competitive Republican primary races will determine who the party puts forward in two critical swing Senate seats.

Many more seats in both the Senate and the Assembly have already or effectively been decided, either because the candidates aren’t up for re-election this year, only one candidate has declared for the seat, or because only one candidate from a party is running and that party has such an overwhelming voter registration advantage in the district it would be unlikely for another party to win it. In the 42-seat Assembly, 16 Democratic seats and five Republican seats fall into that category, as well as nine Democratic seats and six Republican ones in the 21-seat Senate.

Even more seats will be essentially decided on primary night, either because no candidates from any other party are running or, again, because a party has such an overwhelming voter registration advantage in the district that it would be unlikely it would lose the seat in November.

The six other Assembly seats that will essentially be decided on primary night — because they lean so far towards one party in voter registration — are Districts 12 and 15 on the Democratic side and Districts 13, 23, 32 and 36 on the Republican side.

That leaves 11 seats in the Assembly — five that lean Democratic, two that lean Republican and four true swing seats — and the three swing seats in the Senate potentially in play in the November election.

Two Senate seats held or formerly held by Democrats are technically in play on primary night, though state Sen. Yvanna Cancela has a significant fundraising advantage over her opponent in District 10 as does termed-out Assemblyman James Ohrenschall in District 21. The same holds true for the Republican seat held by state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, who has an edge over his sole Republican opponent.

Of the more competitive races, the leading Republican and Democratic candidates in District 9 have faced little or no primary opposition, as is true for the Democratic candidates in Districts 8 and 20. But the outcome of two contentious primaries on the Republican side — between two former lawmakers and a former professional wrestler in District 8 and between an assemblyman and a U.S. Army combat veteran in District 20 — will decide who will face off against the Democratic candidate in November.

Of the four swing seats in the Assembly, the two primaries to watch are in District 4, where the Republican incumbent is facing a primary challenge, and District 37, where a handful of Democrats are facing off to challenge the Republican incumbent in November.

But voter registration is not the end-all to determining the outcome of legislative races — Republicans scored huge wins and took control of both legislative houses in the 2014 midterm elections including taking many districts with a double-digit advantage for Democrats in voter registration, primarily because of low turnout.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of all the primary races to keep tabs on during Election Day:


Senate District 8 (Republican primary)

A crowded field including two former lawmakers and a former professional wrestler is fighting for the Republican nomination in one of the state’s marquee state Senate districts.

State Senate District 8, which includes portions of Summerlin on the western border of Las Vegas, has a narrow 449 person split between the number of registered Democrats over Republicans of the 70,351 voters in the district. Democrats held a narrow 33-person advantage over registered Republicans in the district ahead of the 2014 primaries, the last time the seat was on the ballot.

Former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien, then Halseth, announced last year that she planned to again run for a legislative seat after she resigned her seat in 2012. Since the start of 2017, she’s raised a little more than $36,000.

Former Assemblywoman Valerie Weber, who served in the Legislature between 2002 and 2008, announced she would run for the seat in 2018 and has been endorsed by the Nevada Senate Republican Caucus. She has raised a little less than $102,000 since the start of 2018, including $10,000 each from the Senate Republican Leadership Conference and a PAC affiliated with Republican state Sen. James Settelmeyer.

But the largest fundraising total belongs to a political newcomer with a decidedly non-political background — Dan Rodimer. The onetime professional wrestler raised more than $200,000 in his bid for the seat, with more than three-quarters of the total coming from personal loans.

Whichever candidate wins will likely take on former Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, who served in the Legislature from 2008 to 2014 before losing a bid for the same state Senate seat. She has reported raising almost $110,000 over the cycle so far, with $5,000 contributions coming from South Point Hotel and Casino, a PAC affiliated with a local plumbers and pipefitters union and EMILY’s List.

Her only primary opponent, Stephanie Alvarado, has not reported any fundraising and was arrested in March for allegedly assaulting two police officers.

The seat is currently held by Sen. Patricia Farley, who was elected as a Republican but changed her party registration to nonpartisan and began caucusing with Democrats during the 2017 legislative session. She announced in August she wouldn’t run for re-election.

Senate District 10 (Democratic primary)

Democratic state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, the incumbent, is the favorite to represent this heavily Democratic Las Vegas district, which stretches from downtown Las Vegas south to McCarran Airport. She has represented the district since December 2016, when Clark County commissioners appointed her to fill Ruben Kihuen’s seat after he was elected to Congress.

Cancela, the former political director of the Culinary Union, has the support of the Senate Democratic Caucus, EMILY’s List, the Nevada AFL-CIO, the SEIU Local 1107 and the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers and has raised nearly $193,000 in her bid for the seat since the start of 2017.

Her sole Democratic opponent, animal rights activist Bryce Henderson, has been vocal in the race, criticizing Cancela over several trapping bills during the last legislative session, but has only raised a little more than $9,000 this year.

The winner of the primary will be the only candidate to appear on the general election ballot, since no other candidates from any other parties are running for the seat. Democrats have a 15,000-person voter registration over Republicans in the district, with 25,553 Democrats and 10,381 Republicans.

Senate District 20

Republicans and Democrats alike have their eyes on this Henderson-area district after incumbent Michael Roberson decided to run for lieutenant governor and not seek re-election to one of a handful of competitive state Senate districts up on the 2018 ballot.

On the Republican side, freshman Assemblyman Keith Pickard is seeking a move up to the state Senate, and has been endorsed by the Nevada Senate Republican Caucus and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber. He’s reported raising more than $133,000 since the start of 2017, including $10,000 each from Citizens for Justice, the Senate Republican Leadership Fund and MGM Resorts properties.

He’s facing off against Byron Brooks, a U.S. Army veteran and bail bondsman who has sought to challenge Pickard’s conservative credentials. He’s reported raising more than $72,000 since the start of 2018, with a significant chunk — nearly $45,000 — coming from personal loans.

Democrats have pinned their hopes on political newcomer Julie Pazina, a Henderson small businesswoman endorsed by the Nevada Senate Democratic caucus. She reported raising more than $88,000 through the first six months of 2018, including $5,000 from a PAC affiliated with a plumbers and pipefitters union, Emily’s List, the campaign account of state Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro and a leadership PAC tied to U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.

She’ll face off against former Assemblyman Paul Aizley, who loaned his campaign $10,000 and has spent almost $8,000.

Democrats have a narrow 429-person lead in registered voters, with 28,210 Democrats in the district versus 27,781 Republicans. In 2014, when the seat was last up on the ballot, Republicans held a 23,149 to 22,756 advantage over Democrats ahead of the primary election, an advantage of 393.

Senate District 21 (Democratic primary)

Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, who has served in the Legislature since 2006, is the top contender to represent this Democratic-leaning East Las Vegas district after state Sen. Mark Manendo resigned from the seat last summer after a two-and-a-half-month investigation into allegations of sexual harassment revealed witness-tampering and multiple instances of misconduct dating back years.

Ohrenschall has the backing of the Senate Democratic Caucus, as well as the Nevada AFL-CIO, the SEIU Local 1107, the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers and the Nevada Conservation League, and has raised almost $174,000 since the start of 2017.

He has two Democratic primary opponents: retired fire captain Jay Craddock, who has raised a little more than $26,000 from donations from himself and his family; and working mother Christine Glazer, who has only received a little under $250. There is also one Republican candidate in the race, Ron McGinnis, who hasn’t raised any money so far.

Democrats have nearly a 2-1 voter registration advantage in the district over Republicans, with more than 28,000 Democrats and nearly 15,000 Republicans.


Assembly District 2 (Republican and Democratic primaries)

Republican Assemblyman John Hambrick, a retired Secret Service agent who has represented District 2 since 2008, has attracted a single primary opponent, Jim Small, in his re-election bid to this Summerlin area district.

Hambrick — who is running with the backing of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers and the Nevada Conservation League — has raised a little more than $69,000 since the start of 2017 in his re-election bid to Small’s $67,000, more than $47,000 of that loans.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Jennie Sherwood, a journeywoman electrician, is facing off against David Orentlicher, a UNLV health and constitutional law professor. Sherwood has the backing of the Nevada AFL-CIO, the Nevada State Education Association, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the National Organization for Women and Moms Demand Action, but has only raised about $10,000 while Orentlicher has raised a little more than $42,000, including a $10,000 contribution from his election committee in Indiana and a $20,000 loan from himself.

Republicans have a narrow voter registration advantage in the district, with 14,854 voters to Democrats’ 12,905, but there’s a possibility for the district to swing in either direction come November.

Assembly District 4 (Republican primary)

Republican Assemblyman Richard McArthur is running for re-election to this swingy northwest Las Vegas seat, which he has represented since 2016 but previously represented between 2008 and 2012. But he faces a primary challenge from insurance agent Ken Rezendes who ran against McArthur in the 2016 Republican primary and lost by 107 votes.

McArthur has raised a little more than $39,000 for his re-election bid since the start of 2017, while Rezendes has raised a little more than $24,000, including a $5,000 loan from himself and a $5,000 contribution from his business. A third Republican candidate in the race, Luis Vega, has raised a little under $9,000.

Should McArthur make it through the primary, he will likely face a challenge from Democrat Connie Munk, a retired mental health professional who is running with the backing of the Nevada Assembly Democratic Caucus, the Nevada AFL-CIO, the SEIU Local 1107, EMILY’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada. She has raised a little under $34,000 since the start of 2017 and has one primary opponent, Tony T. Smith, who has raised about $5,000.

Whether the district swings right or left is anyone’s guess, as the district has a fairly even number of registered Republicans and Democrats, with only 99 more Republicans than Democrats. An Independent American party candidate, Bob Lystrup, is unlikely to gain much traction and has only raised about $100.

Assembly District 12 (Democratic primary)

Seven Democratic candidates have thrown their hat in the ring to replace Democratic Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, who is pursuing a bid for the state Senate and leaving the race to represent this blue-leaning district, which stretches from east Las Vegas to Lake Las Vegas, wide open.

Susan Martinez, who has worked in the hospitality industry for 30 years, is the favorite among them, with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, the Nevada AFL-CIO, the SEIU Local 1107 and the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada. She has also raised a little under $49,000 in her bid for the seat.

Her Democratic primary challengers include: lawyer Anat Levy, who has raised about $21,000 including $15,000 in loans; businessman Brandon Casutt, who has raised about $30,000, including a $10,000 loan from himself; small business owner Cinthia Moore, who has raised $17,000; Walter Lee Seip II, who has raised $4,000; veteran Gabrielle D’Ayr, who has raised $3,000; and communications scientist Gregory York, who has raised about $1,000.

Democrats have a roughly 5,000-person voter registration advantage in the district, meaning whoever wins the primary is likely to come out on top in November. Republican Richard Fletcher and Independent American Mary Elizabeth Boyer Martinez are also running for the seat.

Assembly District 13 (Republican primary)

Las Vegas Metro Police Department Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts has the fundraising lead and a number of significant endorsements in his bid to represent this northwest Las Vegas district and replace Republican Assemblyman Paul Anderson, who stepped down from his seat to helm the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Roberts has the backing of the Nevada AFL-CIO, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and the Nevada Conservation League and has raised nearly $75,000 in his bid for the seat. He faces a Republican primary challenge from Steve Sanson, who lost to Anderson in the 2016 Republican primary and has raised about $12,000.

A third Republican primary challenger, James Kemp, has raised only a little more than $2,000. The one Independent American candidate in the race, Leonard Foster, has raised no money.

Whoever wins the Republican primary will be essentially guaranteed a victory in November.

Assembly District 15 (Democratic primary)

Political activist Howard Watts is the favorite to replace retiring Assemblyman Elliot Anderson in this solidly blue Las Vegas district. Watts has the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, the SEIU Local 1107, the Nevada State Education Association, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Giunchigliani and has raised almost $65,000 in his bid for the seat.

One of his Democratic primary challengers, Juan Manuel Chavez, has raised about $11,000. Three other Democratic candidates, Michael Gandy, Lou Toomin and Andrew Spivak, have raised $5,000 or less each.

The one Republican candidate in the race, Stan Vaughan, has not filed the required campaign finance reports.

Assembly District 22 (Republican primary)

With Republican Assemblyman Keith Pickard taking a stab at the state Senate, Melissa Hardy and Richard Bunce are facing off in the Republican primary to represent this Republican-leaning Henderson district. Pickard defeated Bunce in the 2016 primary for the seat.

Hardy, who has run a Port of Subs franchise in Henderson with her husband since 2005, is running with the backing of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Conservation League and the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada. Bunce, the lead developer at a custom software development company and the director of voter contract for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign in Nevada, has support from businessman and congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian, Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, state Sen. Michael Roberson and Paul.

Bunce has raised a little under $64,000 in the race, including $37,000 in loans to himself, $2,000 from Ahern Rentals and $1,500 from the Nevada Trucking Association. Hardy, meanwhile, has raised a little more than $45,000, with money from the gaming industry ($5,000 from MGM Resorts, $2,500 from Grand Sierra Resorts and $1,500 from Boyd Gaming) and from former Assemblyman Paul Anderson’s campaign account.

Democrat Kristee Watson, who has raised about $20,000 and is running with the support of the Nevada AFL-CIO and the SEIU Local 1107, is likely to defeat her only primary opponent, Luis Aguirre-Insua, who hasn’t raised any money so far.

Republicans have about a 2,400-person voter registration advantage in the district, which means whoever wins the Republican primary has a significant advantage going into the November election against the Democratic candidate.

Assembly District 23 (Republican primary)

Two Republican candidates are vying for this Boulder City district seat being vacated by Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury. Whoever wins the primary will be almost entirely guaranteed a victory come November, since the only other candidate in the race, Independent American Party candidate Ralph Preta, has raised no money so far.

Glen Leavitt, a public affairs analyst with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, has the backing of Woodbury and the Nevada AFL-CIO and has raised $55,000 in his bid for the seat, including a $10,000 loan from himself.

Former Las Vegas Metro Police Department officer Matt McCarthy has raised a little more than $80,000, including $32,500 in loans from himself, and has the backing of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Assembly District 24 (Democratic primary)

Four Democratic candidates are facing off in the primary to represent this Reno district currently representing by retiring Democratic Assemblywoman Amber Joiner. Whoever wins the primary will be the only candidate to appear on the general election ballot — guaranteeing a November victory — since no candidates from any other parties filed for the seat.

Former Nevada Department of Taxation head Deonne Contine is running with the backing of the Assembly Democratic Caucus and has received roughly $76,000 in contributions so far in her bid for the seat. She also has the support of the SEIU Local 1107, the Nevada State Education Association and EMILY’s List. A PAC funded by the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, the national drug lobby, has also sent out a mailer on her behalf and has been running Facebook ads in support of her campaign.

But Contine faces serious challenges from retail store owner Tom Stewart, who has the backing of several notable locals including former legislator Sheila Leslie, former Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, Reno City Council Member Jenny Brekhus and Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung and environmental engineer Sarah Peters, who has the support of the Nevada AFL-CIO, the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council and the Nevada Conservation League. Stewart has raised about $29,000 in his bid for the seat while Peters has received about $25,000.

A fourth candidate, state employee Edward Coleman, has raised a more meager $1,370 in his bid for the seat.

Assembly District 32 (Republican primary)

The wife of veteran lawmaker Ira Hansen is facing a tough primary challenge in this heavily Republican rural district that also includes parts of Sparks.

Alexis Hansen, who announced her bid for her husband’s Assembly seat the same day he announced his intention to run for an overlapping state Senate district, has reported raising just over $20,000 since the start of 2017 in her first bid for public office. Her opponent, longtime Humboldt County Commissioner Tom Fransway, has raised nearly $19,000 in his bid for the legislative seat, including more than $16,000 in personal loans.

The lone Democrat to file in the district, Paula Povilaitis, raised a little less than $4,000 since the start of 2018. She faces an uphill climb in the district, which has more than 9,000 registered Republicans than Democrats.

Assembly District 33 (Republican primary)

A veteran Republican assemblyman is facing a tough primary challenge in this ruby-red rural Assembly district, with the winner advancing to Carson City in 2019 with no other party candidates filing to run.

Incumbent John Ellison, first elected in 2010, reported raising a little over $158,000 since the start of 2017, including $5,000 each from South Point Hotel and Casino and the Las Vegas Sands. His primary opponent, Elko Mayor Chris Johnson, raised almost $63,000 for the seat, including a $50,000 personal loan made to his campaign

The seat has one of the highest percentages of Republican voters of any Republican district, with more than 17,052 of the district’s 30,701 voters registered as a Republican.

Assembly District 35

Competitive primaries for both major parties in this key Assembly swing district will take place on primary election day, with at least five candidates angling to replace incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Justin Watkins, who announced in October he wouldn’t run for re-election.

On the Republican side, paralegal David Schoen is facing off against Real Water executive Aimee Jones, the wife of former Assemblyman Brent Jones. Schoen reported raising around $54,000 since the start of 2017, including about $20,000 in candidate loans and $5,000 from the Las Vegas Metro Chamber. Jones reported bringing in just over $19,600, including $5,000 from Incorp Services.

The Assembly Democratic Caucus endorsed nonprofit executive Michelle Gorelow in February, but she’s facing a well-funded primary challenge from Paul Nimsuwan. Gorelow reported raising just under $41,000 since the beginning of 2018, including $18,000 from incumbent Assembly Democrats and their affiliated PACs. Nimsuwan more than doubled that fundraising total — raising a little less than $92,000 over the reporting period, almost all of which was a personal loan to his campaign.

Regardless of the primary outcome, voters in the district will have a third choice on the November ballot of Daniel Hofstein, running as a nonpartisan. He reported raising just over $30,000, including a $20,000 personal loan.

Democrats have slowly added to their registration lead in the district since the 2016 primary. The party has 16,376 registered voters compared to 13,327 registered Republicans at the close of the primary — a difference of 3,049, or an added 1,058 lead from the same period ahead of the cycle’s primary race.

Assembly District 36 (Republican primary)

Incumbent Republican James Oscarson is in the fight of his political life against prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof in what is likely the nastiest legislative primary fight of the 2018 midterms.

Oscarson, who was first elected in 2012, has faced primary challenges and angst from Republicans in Nye County after he voted in favor of the contentious Commerce Tax proposal favored by Gov. Brian Sandoval in the 2015 legislative session. He narrowly survived a contentious 2016 primary, and then defeated Hof — then running as a Libertarian Party member — in the general election.

Hof, who changed his party registration and has attracted high-profile support including from President Donald Trump’s informal advisor Roger Stone, has largely self-funded his campaign, loaning it more than $210,000 since the start of 2017.

Oscarson has also raised significant funds, bringing in nearly $197,000 since the start of 2017, including more than $20,000 from several MGM properties.

Another Republican candidate, Joseph Bradley, has raised only about $2,200. The lone Democratic candidate for the district, Lesia Romanov, has raised $1,400.

There’s a 7,848 difference between the number of registered Republicans (19,219) and Democrats (11,371) in the district, with more than 8,000 registered nonpartisans.

Assembly District 37 (Democratic primary)

One of the few pick-up opportunities for Assembly Democrats comes in this Summerlin-area district, where the party hopes to knock off incumbent Assemblyman Jim Marchant, running unopposed in the Republican Party primary.

The Democrat who raised the most so far in 2018 is attorney and small business owner Shea Backus, who brought in nearly $30,000 in her bid for the office. She’ll face off against Rick Cornstuble, who reported raising nearly $7,000 so far, and Robbie Pearce, who reported raising $275.

Whoever emerges from the primary will face off against Marchant, who was elected to his first term in 2016 and reported raising a little more than $111,000 since the start of 2017, including $5,000 each from the conservative Keystone Corporation’s chairman John Gibson and South Point Hotel & Casino.

Democrats hold a narrow registration advantage of just 18 voters, or 14,217 registered Democrats to 14,199 Republicans and 7,487 registered nonpartisans. The narrow registered voter advantage has actually flipped in the two years since the 2016 primary election, when Republicans had 14,110 registered voters in the district and Democrats had 13,879.

Assembly District 42 (Democratic primary)

Three Democrats are facing off in a key primary to replace Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, who announced last November that she wouldn’t run for re-election. No Republicans have filed for the seat, so the primary winner will be the seated in the Legislature come 2019.

The presumptive favorite is Alexander Assefa, a small business owner who came to the U.S. 18 years ago as a refugee from Ethiopia and is endorsed by the Assembly Democratic caucus. He reported raising a little under $62,000 over the first six months of 2018, including $5,000 from the progressive Peoples’ PAC, $3,000 from Citizens for Justice and $1,000 from Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson.

He’ll face off against Kathleen Lauckner, a former UNLV professor, and LaDon Henry, who is seeking to become the first transgender man elected to the state Assembly. Both lag Assefa in fundraising — Lauckner raised just under $5,000 and Henry brought in $1,820 since the start of 2018.

Democrats hold a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in registered voters in the district — 11,590 registered Democrats and 5,990 Republicans, with 5,787 nonpartisan voters. Democrats have added 767 registered voters between now and the close of registration for the state’s 2016 primary, compared to 329 registered voters for Republicans.

Disclosure: Several Indy donors are mentioned in this story. You can see a full list of donors here.

Spending spree continues in heated Democratic gubernatorial primary, with Sisolak leading the charge

Candidates for statewide and legislative races are on the home stretch for the primaries, and financial disclosures they filed before a Friday deadline show it’s an expensive stretch for many.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak burned through more than $1 million in the most recent three-week filing period, which ran from May 19 to June 7. That continues a spending spree that was already $5.2 million in the first 4 ½ months as he blankets the airwaves trying to defeat underdog fellow Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who spent just under half a million dollars.

Sisolak raised more than double what Giunchigliani did during the period, although multimillion dollar assistance from outside groups is helping her stay in the race.

Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt spent about $225,000 more than he took in during the most recent filing period. He doesn’t have fierce competition in his primary for governor, but much of it was spent on ads — he was up on TV with a positive spot during Thursday’s final Stanley Cup championship game featuring the Vegas Golden Knights.

Other prominent races include brothel owner Dennis Hof’s Assembly bid to oust Pahrump Republican incumbent James Oscarson. Allegations of sexual misconduct and criticisms over taxes have flown in their expensive battle for an Assembly seat, which has also featured a visit from prominent pro-Donald Trump operative Roger Stone on Hof’s behalf.

And in the race for Clark County District Attorney, incumbent Steve Wolfson is trying to fend off challenger Rob Langford, who entered the race late but is being bolstered by significant spending by outside groups with ties to liberal billionaire George Soros.

Here’s a look at the latest campaign finance reports.


On the Democratic side, Sisolak brought in more than $363,000 over the reporting period, while spending more than $1 million.

He took in 17 donations of $10,000, the maximum amount a single entity is allowed to give per election cycle. Many of the donations appeared to come from the same parent entity — at least $30,000 combined from Fidelity National Title Group, Cannae Holdings LLC and FNTS Holdings LLC, all of which sent checks on the same day and listed the same address in Jacksonville, Florida.

He took in another $30,000 combined from prominent Las Vegas construction magnate Bill Richardson, his wife Linda and an entity called Sunglow LLC, all of which list the same address. He also received $5,000 from fellow Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown’s campaign account.

At least $955,000 of his reported $1 million in expenditures were earmarked for advertising. Since the start of the year, his campaign has reported spending more than $6.3 million.

His top opponent, Giunchigliani, reported raising more than $164,000 over the reporting period, while spending just over $494,000.

Her top contributor over the reporting period was Caesar’s Palace, which gave her a combined $10,000 from the casino giant’s namesake and Paris Las Vegas. She also received $5,000 each from Massachusetts philanthropist Barbara Lee, Las Vegas law firm Maier Gutierrez & Associates and Total Wine founder David Trone and his wife, June.

She also received $2,000 from Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson and $1,000 from Assemblyman Justin Watkins, who is not running for reelection.

More than $395,000 of her reported $494,000 in expenditures went towards advertising costs.

Giunchigliani is getting a significant leg up from outside groups, including a PAC formed by EMILY’s List called “Women Vote!.” The group reported raising $1.36 million over the three weeks of the reporting period, and spending nearly all of it on advertisements.

She received help from Strong Public Schools Nevada, a PAC backed by the Nevada State Education Association and funded by the teacher’s union, their national parent and the local Service Employees International Union. The group reported raising $800,000 over the fundraising period, and spending $560,000 on advertising.

Republican Treasurer Dan Schwartz loaned his campaign another $75,000 during the reporting period, and spending nearly $83,000. In total, he’s loaned his campaign around $390,000 since the start of 2017.

Laxalt, who had a gaping lead over his opponents in a recent poll, raised an additional $398,752 during the second reporting period of the year. That puts him over the $2.2 million fundraising mark since the beginning of 2018. But he also spent heavily — to the tune of $623,855 — during this reporting period.

Individuals, from both inside and outside Nevada, made up a good portion of Laxalt’s donor base this period. For instance, members of the Florida-based Macricostas family contributed significant donations: Constantine Macricostas ($10,000), Marie Macricostas ($10,000) and Stephen Macricostas ($10,000). A business entity called Nikea LLC, which lists George Macricostas as an officer, also donated $10,000. George Macricostas is the founder of a data center company called RagingWire.

Laxalt also snagged a $5,000 donation from an entity called Shooting Range Industries LLC and $10,000 each from BR Guest Holdings LLC, ACHC LLC, Flat Willow Farm LLC and Wolf Creek Cattle Co. LLC, among others.

He also received donations from a key Trump administration figure — Joseph Otting, who was appointed comptroller of the currency in November and is charged with overseeing banking regulations. Otting and his wife contributed $20,000 to Laxalt’s campaign.He lives part-time in Las Vegas.

Laxalt spent big on polling, paying a firm called WPAi — which touts its work on Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign — $107,413 in May. Axiom Strategies, a consulting firm that worked with Cruz, is helping Laxalt’s campaign as well.

Laxalt also spent more than $400,000 toward advertising this period. His smallest individual expense was $2.17 at a 99 Cents Only store in Las Vegas.

Lieutenant governor

Republican state Sen. Michael Roberson raised $33,553 over the last few weeks, with $30,000 of it coming from MGM Resorts and its affiliated properties. He’s spent roughly $60,000 on assorted expenses, including about $54,000 on advertising and consultants, $3,000 on travel and $460 on polling.

Roberson helped Gov. Brian Sandoval by leading the legislative charge to raise and extend taxes in 2015, but that effort came back to haunt him in a Republican primary for Congress in 2016, which he lost to Danny Tarkanian.  Stridently anti-tax former Assemblyman Brent Jones is among Roberson’s primary opponents in his bid to be the governor’s deputy.

Jones raised $3,000 over the last few weeks, including $2,500 from Incorp Services, and spent $2,800 on advertising-related expenses.

On the Democratic side, Kate Marshall reported raising $21,246 in the pre-primary period and spending $8,544. Caesars Enterprise Services and the Communication Workers of America both donated $5,000.

Her biggest expenditure was paying her campaign manager.

Attorney General

Republican Wes Duncan collected $105,605 in contributions in the pre-primary period, and spent $241,539. He received $10,000 each from MGM Resorts International, the MGM Grand casino and the Bellagio, as well as a $10,000 from slot machine manufacturer IGT’s former chairman, Charles Mathewson.

He spent about $130,000 on advertising, including tens of thousands of dollars with Republican consulting firm November Inc., as well as with the target marketing firm Strategic Media Services.

His primary opponent, Craig Mueller, reported accepting $5,005 and spending $41,095 in the pre-primary period. Most of the spending is attributed to office expenses, but he also paid for polling and advertising with McShane LLC, the company run by Dan Schwartz campaign manager Rory McShane.

Democrat Aaron Ford raised about $64,000 over the same period — including $10,000 from Southern Glazier’s Wine and Spirits, $10,000 from the Democratic Attorney General Association’s Nevada PAC and $5,000 from the Communication Workers of America District 9 — and spent a little more than $181,000. He spent nearly $91,000 on advertising-related expenses to Mag Dog Mail and Blueprint Interactive and $41,000 on “miscellaneous” expenses to Myers Research in Washington, D.C.

Secretary of State

Republican incumbent Barbara Cegavske said she raised $5,550 in the pre-primary period and spent $11,492. Her biggest contribution was from a company called Incorp Services, while her biggest expense was $6,400 to public relations firm 10e Media.

Democratic Assemblyman Nelson Araujo reported raising $17,940 and spending $6,473 in the period. His biggest donation was $5,000 from the Communication Workers of America, and his biggest expenditure was paying his campaign manager.

State Senate District 8

With nonpartisan incumbent Sen. Patricia Farley not running for re-election, this swingy Las Vegas Senate district is teeming with candidates.

Republican former Assemblywoman Valerie Weber only raised about $6,500, but she has spent more than $67,000 over the past few weeks, largely on printing-related expenses and consultants.

Another Republican, former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien, raised a little more than $4,000 over that same period — most of that personal loans — and spent nearly $6,000, largely on advertising expenses. And a third Republican, former wrestler Dan Rodimer, raised about $7,000 over the period and spent nearly $42,000 on polling, advertising and consultants. (Rodimer loaned his campaign more than $157,000 during the last reporting period.)

The Democrat favored to win the primary is former Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, who raised nearly $24,000 over the last few months, including a $5,000 check from AFSCME, and spent about $21,000.

State Senate District 20

Republican Assemblyman Keith Pickard is spending big in his bid to replace state Sen. Michael Roberson in this Henderson district. He raised almost $18,000 this period and spent nearly $40,000, with nearly all of that going to Advanced Micro Targeting for consulting-related expenses.

His main primary opponent, U.S. Army combat veteran Byron Brooks, raised only $4,200 and has spent no money.

Meanwhile, the Democratic-caucus backed candidate, Julie Pazina, brought in nearly $18,000 over the spent and spent a little under $27,000, entirely on advertising. Former Democratic Assemblyman Paul Aizley is also running for the seta, bringing in no money this period and spending $6,800 on advertising of a $10,000 loan he gave himself in the last period.

Assembly District 33

Republican Assemblyman John Ellison, who is facing a Republican primary challenge from Elko Mayor Chris Johnson, raised an additional $48,000 over the last several weeks, including $10,000 from MGM Resorts and $10,000 from High Desert Gold Corp. He also received $3,000 from Barrick, $1,500 from the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, $1,000 from Anheuser Busch and $2,000 from the Nevada Realtor PAC.

Ellison spent about $13,000 over that same time period, largely on advertising, special event and staff related expenses.

Johnson only raised $700 this period and spent about $13,000, entirely on advertising.

Assembly District 36

Brothel owner Dennis Hof pumped $100,200 in personal loans into his campaign over the last several weeks and has received another $1,000 in other donations for a rural district that includes Pahrump. He has spent a little less than $74,000 over the same time period, largely on advertising- and special event-related expenses.

Republican Assemblyman James Oscarson, who is defending his seat from Hof, only raised about $15,000 over the same time period, including $1,000 from the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Researchers of America, $2,500 from Valley Electric and $1,000 from Barrick. He spent a little less than $32,000 over the same time period.

Assembly Leadership

Assembly Republican Leader Jim Wheeler brought in $21,000, including $15,000 from the Las Vegas Sands and its affiliated properties, $2,500 from Switch, $1,000 from NV Energy and $2,000 from Barrick. Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson raised $25,540 over the same period, including $5,000 from the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, $3,500 from the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters and $2,000 from AT&T.

Clark County District Attorney

A group with ties to billionaire liberal donor George Soros that’s attempting to boost a challenger to incumbent Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson reported raising more than $1.2 million, all from a single source.

Nevada Law & Justice PAC, which has run ads attacking Wolfson and boosting the candidacy of longtime criminal defense attorney Robert Langford, reported spending more than $414,000 over the nearly three-week reporting period and raising $1.2 million from a group called “Law & Justice PAC.”

The PAC itself is registered to Whitney Tymas, president of the national political nonprofit Justice & Safety PAC and has previously served as treasurer for other groups backed by Soros.

Another Nevada-based PAC running ads in the primary race, “Peoples’ PAC,” reported raising more than $300,000 ahead of the primary, almost all from the San Francisco based “Accountable Justice Action Fund,” a 501(c)(4) nonprofit dedicated to supporting candidates opposed to mass incarceration. It reported spending more than $467,000 over the reporting period, primarily on advertisements.

Because both Langford and Wolfson are Democrats and because no one else filed to run for the seat, the winner of the June 12 primary will automatically assume the office without having to advance to the general election.

Langford reported raising just over $23,000 over the fundraising period, and spent slightly more than $29,000 over the fundraising period. Wolfson reported raising just over $26,000, while spending more than $262,000 over the fundraising period, primarily on advertising.

Another group affiliated with Soros, the Open Society Policy Center, gave $500,000 to a PAC set up to combat a ballot question seeking to ban sanctuary cities in Nevada.

To see what all the statewide and legislative candidates raised between mid-June and now — and how much they’ve now raised in total — check out the table below. Be sure to click between the “Statewide” and “Legislature” tabs at the bottom to see all the races. (This spreadsheet will be continually updated.)

Disclosure: Switch, MGM Resorts, NV Energy, Patricia Farley, Valley Electric, Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani have donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.