Cortez Masto, Susie Lee again lead second quarter fundraising tallies as 2022 money race ramps up

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto speaking into a microphone behind a podium

Nevada’s incumbent Democrats padded their campaign war chests through the second quarter, with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Rep. Susie Lee leading their respective fields, according to data reported this week by the Federal Election Commission. 

Cortez Masto raked in nearly $2.8 million, exceeding her first quarter fundraising by nearly half a million dollars. Lee, meanwhile, raised more than $615,000, an amount roughly equaling her own first quarter numbers. 

With just under a year remaining before next year’s primary elections, fields in every race remain relatively small. Still, a handful of new entrants have emerged in the state’s key congressional battlegrounds, including three Republicans each in District 3 and 4 (both held by Democrats), and a primary challenger to Democratic Rep. Dina Titus in the deep blue District 1. 

Below are additional campaign finance numbers for each candidate who filed with the FEC as of Friday, broken down by congressional race and ordered from greatest cumulative fundraising to least. 

Catherine Cortez Masto (D) - incumbent

With no declared challengers through the entirety of the second quarter, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto boosted her campaign warchest with more than $2.7 million in contributions. Even after spending nearly $900,000, that sum lifted her cash on hand to nearly $6.6 million.

Cortez Masto’s campaign touted that cash on hand cushion as a crucial advantage this week, though the race to take or hold her seat in the Senate will likely draw millions more in fundraising for both major parties as next year’s general election approaches.

Still, her quarterly fundraising total was the lowest of any of the four Democratic Senate incumbents running in states rated as “Lean Democratic” by the Cook Political Report, a group of candidates that also includes Kelly ($6 million raised), Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock ($7.2 million) and New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan ($3.3 million). 

A vast majority of her second quarter fundraising — more than $2.3 million — came from individuals. Another $342,000 came from PACs, with the remainder flowing from committee transfers ($101,000), expenditure offsets and other receipts.

Almost a quarter of Cortez Masto’s spending — more than $218,000 — went to expenses related to fundraising mailers, including consultants, printing and postage, with even more ($343,000) dedicated to online fundraising expenses. 

Two Republican candidates, Sharelle Mendenhall and Sam Brown, formed campaign committees in July and did not report fundraising in the second quarter, which ended in June. 

Susie Lee (D) - incumbent 

Frequently the top House fundraiser in Nevada, Democratic Rep. Susie Lee once again led the state’s congressional candidates in the money race with more than $615,000 in second quarter contributions, pushing her cash on hand to nearly $955,000. 

Almost three-quarters of Lee’s fundraising, about $447,000, came from individual contributions, with another $156,000 coming from PACs. Much of the total also came from big-money donations, including eight contributions of the $5,000 maximum from PACs, and another 85 contributions of the maximum $2,900 for individuals (all totaling for a combined $286,500).

Lee’s spending last quarter neared $144,000, with sizable chunks of that money flowing to consultants — who combined for $45,700 in expenses — and advertising, including $20,000 for a digital ad campaign from Washington, D.C.-based firm Break Something. 

April Becker (R)

A one-time 2020 Nevada Senate hopeful-turned congressional challenger, April Becker led the district’s field of Republicans last quarter with nearly $251,000 in contributions, as well as roughly $259,000 cash on hand. 

Almost all of Becker’s fundraising came from individual contributions, with some major donors including several linked to the Meruelo Group — including maximum $5,800 contributions from Alex Meruelo, his wife Liset, and Meruelo Enterprises Vice President Luis Armona — and members of the Station Casinos-owning Fertitta family, including $5,800 contributions from Frank Fertitta III, Jill Fertitta, Lorenzo Fertitta and Teresa Fertitta. 

Becker also far outspent her rivals, dropping nearly $123,000, including more than $84,000 on expenses related to consulting or advertising. Of that money, more than $17,000 went to Las Vegas-based consulting firm November Inc., and nearly $19,000 went to October Inc.

Mark Robertson (R)

Another early entrant into the District 3 race, veteran Mark Robertson trailed Becker with $104,000 in contributions and nearly $117,000 in cash on hand. 

Nearly all of his fundraising, roughly $97,000, came from individual contributions, with another $3,000 coming from PACs and $3,600 coming from candidate loans. Many of Robertson’s biggest donors were Las Vegas-based business owners, including America’s Mart owners Nick and Kristy Willden ($5,800 each), Sunrise Paving’s Glenn and Jill Warren ($5,800 each) and Patrick’s Signs CFO Tiffani Dean ($5,800). 

Robertson reported spending only $31,000 last quarter, with much of it split between consulting, advertising and event fees. 

Noah Malgeri (R)

The newest Republican challenger in the field who entered the race in early June — just before the quarter ended — Republican attorney and business owner Noah Malgeri trailed the rest of the field with nearly $39,000 in second quarter fundraising and $32,400 cash on hand. 

That money stems mostly from more than $31,100 in candidate loans, buoyed by another $7,750 in individual contributions. 

Of the $6,300 Malgeri spent last quarter, almost all of it ($6,033) went to Las Vegas-based firm McShane, LLC. 

One other candidate, Republican Reinier Prijten, briefly filed in April before formally terminating his campaign committee in May.

Steven Horsford (D) - incumbent

Touting record off-year fundraising for a single quarter, Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford pulled in more than $581,000 last quarter, boosting his cash on hand to more than $1.2 million — a massive sum larger even than Nevada’s usual fundraising frontrunner, Susie Lee, and almost eight times as much money as his next nearest Republican competitor. 

A slight majority of Horsford’s fundraising ($305,800) came from individual contributions, with the remaining $275,000 coming from PAC money. Like Lee, Horsford also saw most of his money flow from big-dollar fundraising and maximum contributions, including 15 $5,000 maximum contributions from PACs, and another 127 individual contributions between the maximum $2,900 and $2,000. 

Together, those major contributions combine for more than $414,000. 

Horsford’s campaign spent more than $127,000 through the quarter, including more than $11,000 on online advertising and more than $22,000 on consulting.   

Sam Peters (R)

The runner-up in last year’s Republican primary in District 4, veteran and insurance salesman Sam Peters entered this year’s race with a fundraising edge on his Republican rivals. That edge continued into the second quarter, where he raised more than $119,000 and was left with more than $155,000 cash on hand. 

Peters saw a handful of maximum individual contributions through the quarter, with most coming from retirees or real estate-related donors. 

Peters was the only Republican spending large amounts last quarter, dropping more than $76,000. A sizable chunk of that spending, almost $34,000, went to Las Vegas-based consulting firm McShane, while another $18,700 went to credit card fees. 

Carolina Serrano (R) 

Though she was a relatively late entrant into the race, only forming her campaign committee in June, former Trump campaign staffer Carolina Serrano still banked more than $49,000 last quarter and enters the third quarter with more than $42,000 left on hand. 

A majority of that fundraising came from a handful of big names (both current and former) in the gaming industry. That includes maximum $5,800 contributions from former Wynn CEO Steve Wynn and his wife, Andrea, as well as another $5,800 from Meruelo Group President Alex Meruelo, $4,200 from his wife Liset, $5,800 from Meruelo Group Executive Vice President Luis Armona and $4,200 from his wife, Margaret. 

Together, those six contributions alone total $31,600, or roughly two-thirds of all the money Serrano raised. 

Serrano spent comparatively little last quarter — just $6,200 — though nearly all of it came through a $5,000 digital ad buy.  

Tony Lane (R)

A former player for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in the mid-90s and now a Las Vegas business owner, Tony Lane raised the least of any Republican in the race with just $3,942. He spent nearly all of it — $3,362 — leaving just under $580 cash on hand. 

One other candidate, non-partisan John Johnson, did not report fundraising for this period, despite forming a campaign committee in February. 

Dina Titus (D) - incumbent

Facing what could be her first serious primary challenge since winning District 1 in 2012, Democratic Rep. Dina Titus roughly tripled her fundraising from the first quarter to the second, raking in more than $152,000 and lifting her cash on hand to more than $463,000. 

Of all Nevada’s federal-level midterms next year, Titus’ race could become the center of a split between the establishment wing of the state party and a surging group of left-wing activists. 

Those activists won a key victory in March of this year, electing a slate of progressives to party leadership positions. Ahead of that loss, the party apparatus hemorrhaged staffers and hundreds of thousands in money was transferred from state party accounts to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 

Establishment Democrats have since launched a new campaign apparatus, the Nevada Democratic Victory campaign. 

Titus’ fundraising was almost even split between individual contributions ($80,000) and PAC money ($72,000), with some of Titus’ largest fundraisers including Las Vegas mega-donor Stephen Cloobeck ($2,800), Las Vegas-based attorney and political director for the state Senate Democrats Alisa Nave ($5,600) and Las Vegas-based doctor and frequent Democratic donor Nic Spirtos ($5,800).

Titus spent little in comparison to her fellow incumbents, logging just under $29,000 in expenditures last quarter. Most of that money, almost $20,000, went to consultants, including more than $12,000 for fundraising consulting. 

Amy Vilela (D)

A third-place runner up in the 2018 race to fill the open seat left in District 4 by the departure of Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen (a race ultimately won by Steven Horsford), Amy Vilela has entered 2022’s primary for District 1 as a progressive challenge to the establishment-backed Titus.

Touting her efforts for the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2020 and, more recently, an endorsement from progressive Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, Vilela posted nearly $82,000 in second-quarter fundraising, with almost $58,000 cash on hand. 

All of that fundraising came from individual contributions, and all came through the online Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue. As a result, much of her fundraising came from out-of-state. Of 56 unique contributors to Vilela’s campaign, just 10 listed a Nevada address.

Vilela reported just $23,300 in spending, with almost all of it dedicated to operating expenses, including $2,500 spent on consulting. 

Mark Amodei (R) - incumbent

As he has continued to leave the door open for a possible run at the governor’s mansion, Republican incumbent Mark Amodei nearly outspent his fundraising through the second quarter, burning through more than $88,000 of the $90,000 raised, leaving roughly $325,500 cash on hand. 

Outside one $2,900 contribution from Cashell Enterprises CEO Rob Cashell Jr., most of Amodei’s major donations came from PACs or corporate donors. That includes $5,000 from Las Vegas Sands, $5,000 from the Credit Union Legislative Action Council, and $2,500 each from NV Energy, the American Bakers Association, construction materials company CalPortland and the law firm Holland & Hart. 

Some of Amodei’s spending went to a number of contributions to other Republican incumbents, including $1,000 each for Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson, New York Rep. Claudia Tenney, Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon, North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson, Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, and California Rep. David Valadao. 

However, Amodei also spent large sums on consulting ($37,500) and “contributor relations” expenses ($15,400). 

One other candidate, Democrat Aaron Michael Sims, formed a campaign committee in the second quarter but did not file a campaign finance report as of Friday morning.

Nevada Athletic Commission rules that marijuana possession and use will not disqualify fighters

Marijuana plants

The Nevada Athletic Commission — which regulates boxing and other unarmed combat — unanimously amended its anti-doping policy on Wednesday to no longer ban athletes for the use or possession of cannabis.

The changes come after track and field sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s recent suspension from the Tokyo Olympics because of drug testing that revealed marijuana use. Starting Wednesday in Nevada, athletes who test positive for recent marijuana use would not be automatically disqualified from their sport.

“I think being the gold standard with regard to combat sports — both MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and boxing — being a world-class destination, and having our state show the leadership and the fortitude in light of some of the recent circumstances we've all seen on television, we should be always at the forefront of these issues,” Commission Chair Stephen Cloobeck said during a meeting in Las Vegas.

The new changes mean drug tests that show more than the 150 nanograms of marijuana metabolites per milliliter limit would not disqualify a fighter. Still, athletes who show up noticeably intoxicated would still be barred from competition.

The commission decided to continue performing drug tests, but the data collected will remain confidential to the commission. After a six-month period, the board will revisit the topic of data collection to determine whether it’s something members want to continue.

“Additional information can only help us,” Commissioner Dallas Haun said, “and at the end of the day it's for the safety of the fighters.”

State leadership endorsed the revision to anti-doping policy, with officials from Attorney General Aaron Ford’s office writing the initial memorandum that opened the topic to discussion. Bob Bennett, the commission’s executive director, said that according to the World Anti-Doping Agency, marijuana does not appear to provide any benefits to athletes in competition. 

“Marijuana is considered to be a substance of abuse and not a performance enhancing drug,” he said. “I think our goal is to test performance enhancing drugs in an effort to ensure there's a level playing field.”

In Nevada, weed has been legal for recreational use since 2017. The state is also home to a multimillion-dollar mixed martial arts and boxing economy, with Las Vegas events drawing thousands of visitors and millions in revenue.

Cortez Masto, Lee top prior first-quarter fundraising tallies as congressional campaigns eye 2022 midterms

Congressional representatives across the state reported race-leading fundraising hauls this week, positioning each with an early money advantage more than a year in advance of next summer’s primary elections. 

Leading all fundraising was Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, (D-NV), who reported more than $2.3 million in fundraising ahead of what is expected to be a competitive re-election bid. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who is not up for reelection until 2024, reported $341,794.

In the House, District 3 Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) led the state’s delegation with $607,407 raised through the first quarter; District 4’s Steven Horsford (D-NV) followed with $363,210; District 2’s Mark Amodei (R-NV) reported $77,749; and District 1’s Dina Titus (D-NV) reported $48,080.

With so much time left before the formal filing deadline for congressional elections next spring, the field of challengers in each district remains relatively small. Even so, two Republican challengers in the state’s two swing districts reported six-figure fundraising hauls, including Sam Peters in District 4 ($135,000) and April Becker in District 3 ($143,000).

Below are some additional campaign finance numbers for each candidate, broken down by district from greatest cumulative fundraising to least. 

Catherine Cortez Masto (D) — incumbent

Ahead of her first-ever bid for re-election as a U.S. senator and as Democrats prepare to defend their razor-thin margin in the Senate, Cortez Masto reported $2.3 million in fundraising, boosting her cash on hand by roughly 55 percent to nearly $4.7 million. 

A vast majority of that money, about $1.8 million, came from individual donors, including roughly $1.35 million in itemized contributions and $460,000 in small-dollar unitemized donations. Cortez Masto also raised an even $349,000 from PACs, more than $51,000 from political party committees and nearly $86,500 from other fundraising committee transfers.  

With a fundraising total orders of magnitude larger than any other candidate in Nevada through the first quarter, Cortez Masto also has by far the most individual donors of the entire field with thousands of itemized contributions reported, including several dozen contributions of the legal maximum. 

By law, individuals can contribute up to $2,900 per candidate per election (i.e. for the primary and for the general) in federal elections, while PACs and other committees can contribute up to $5,000 per election. Major donors will often contribute that maximum twice, once for the primary and again for the general, up front, giving candidates between $5,800 and $10,000.

Among the many donors who maxed out their contribution to Cortez Masto were a handful of Nevada regulars, including businessman and major Democratic donor Stephen Cloobeck ($2,900 in the first quarter, $5,800 overall) and MGM Resorts International ($5,000).

With nearly $663,000 spent this quarter, no Nevada politician came close to Cortez Masto in outlays. Most of that money, $382,206, went to nine firms involved in fundraising operations, including mailers ($213,406) and online ($168,800). 

Jacky Rosen (D) — incumbent

With more than three years before she’ll face voters again, Rosen reported a comparatively modest $341,794 in contributions last quarter, but her campaign has more than $1.85 million in cash on hand. 

Of that money, most ($226,165) came from individual contributions, with the rest flowing largely from PACs ($14,000) and authorized committee transfers ($97,600).

Among the several dozen donors giving Rosen the legal maximum were Las Vegas Sun owner Brian Greenspun ($5,800) and his wife, Myra Greenspun ($5,800); Niraj Shah, CEO of the furniture retailer Wayfair ($2,900); and a leadership PAC linked to former Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, the Seeking Justice PAC ($5,000).  

Most of the $137,000 spent by Rosen was for regular operating expenditures, though her campaign twice spent $5,000 for online advertising from New York-based firm Assemble the Agency. 

A district that covers much of the southern half of Clark County, including some of the Las Vegas metro’s wealthiest suburbs, District 3 has switched hands between the two major parties three times since its creation in 2002. 

For three cycles, that control has been maintained by Democrats, following a narrow win by Rosen in 2016, and subsequent victories by Lee in 2018 and 2020. Still, a narrow victory in the district by Donald Trump in 2016 and small voter registration gaps have marked District 3 as one of a few-dozen nationwide that may become key to deciding which party controls the House after the 2022 midterms.

Susie Lee (D) — incumbent

Frequently the top-fundraiser among Nevada’s House delegation, Susie Lee continued her streak last quarter with $607,407 in contributions. After Lee largely depleted her campaign reserves in a pricey bid to keep her seat last year, that first-quarter fundraising has left her campaign with just over $484,000 in cash on hand. 

Nearly all of that money — $493,070 — came from individual contributions, with the remaining $114,000 coming from big-money PAC contributions. 

Among those individual donors were several dozen contributing the $2,900 maximum. Those big money donors were largely local business leaders — including Cashman Equipment CEO MaryKaye Cashman, MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle and former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren — though the group also included television showrunner and producer Shonda Rhimes.

Among PACs that contributed the $5,000 maximum were a mix of business interests (including PACs related to Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International), and unions (including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and SMART, the sheet metal and transportation workers union, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.) 

Lee reported spending nearly $146,000 last quarter, an amount second only to Cortez Masto among the delegation members. Most of that money went to campaign consulting and staffing costs, with the single largest chunk — $32,000 spread over five payments — going to Washington, D.C.-based digital consulting firm Break Something. 

April Becker (R)

After her unsuccessful run for the Legislature in 2020, attorney April Becker is challenging Susie Lee (D) for her seat in Congress. In the first quarter of 2021, Becker raised $143,444 mostly from individual contributors. 

Becker received $2,000 from PACs, such as the Stronger Nevada PAC and (although not officially endorsed by) the campaigns for fellow Republican politicians, former Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei. 

Several of her big individual contributors included family members; donations from individuals with the last name Becker totaled $29,500, nearly a fifth of the total contributions. Local business owners also contributed to Becker, including some car dealership owners: $5,000 from Gary Ackerman of Gaudin Motor Company; Cliff Findlay and Donna Findlay of Findlay Automotive each donated the maximum of $2,900, totaling $5,800; and Donald Forman of United Nissan Vegas gave $5,800.  

Co-owners of the Innovative Pain Care Center, Melissa and Daniel Burkhead, each gave $5,800 totaling $11,600. Other contributors included several medical professionals, real estate investors and attorneys.

In the first quarter, Becker kept most of the money collected, $131,460, reporting spending only $11,983 on more fundraising efforts. 

Mark Robertson (R)

Also hoping to challenge Susie Lee, Army veteran Mark Robertson raised $61,631 in his first time running for a political seat. The sum includes $7,451 he loaned his campaign.  

Although he collected less than half than Becker in the first quarter, retirees were large contributors to his campaign, some nearly reaching the $5,800 maximum for both the primary and general elections. 

Several local architects, engineers and construction contractors were also among the contributors, including $5,000 combined from Kenneth and Michelle Alber of Penta Building Group, $3,000 from Brock Krahenbuhl, a contractor for GTI Landscape and $3,000 from Wayne Horlacher of Horrock Engineers. 

Robertson reported spending $25,148, including $5,250 on campaign consulting, $3,138 on office supplies and $3,270 on video and print advertising production services. After the expenditures, Robertson is left with $44,034 cash on hand. 

A geographically massive district — larger than some states — that encompasses parts of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and much of the state’s central rural counties, District 4 has been held by Democrats for all but one cycle since its creation in 2011. That exception came in 2014, when Republican Cresent Hardy unseated then-freshman Democrat Steven Horsford in an upset. 

Horsford retook the seat in 2018, defeating Hardy in an open race after incumbent Democrat Ruben Kihuen declined to mount his own re-election bid amid a sexual harassment investigation. Horsford later won re-election in 2020, beating Republican Jim Marchant by 5 percentage points. 

Steven Horsford (D) — incumbent

With $363,209 in reported fundraising, Horsford boosted his campaign war chest by more than 50 percent last quarter, lifting his cash on hand to $757,142. 

That fundraising was driven mostly by $205,883 in individual contributions, though Horsford also brought in a much larger share of PAC contributions ($157,251) than his delegation counterparts.

Among Horsford’s single-largest contributors was Las Vegas Sun owner Brian Greenspun and his wife, Myra, who both contributed the $2,900 maximum for the primary and general elections, or $11,600 combined. 

Horsford’s biggest PAC contributions came from a mix of political committees linked to the Democratic Party, unions and corporations. That includes $10,000 from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC (of which Horsford is a member), $5,000 from the public employees union AFSCME and $5,000 from MGM Resorts International.   

A vast majority of the $102,000 spent by Horsford’s campaign last quarter went to operating costs, salaries and consultants, though — like his fellow incumbents — a sizable portion ($21,000) still flowed to a pair of fundraising and finance compliance consultants. 

Sam Peters (R)

After finishing second in last year’s Republican primary for District 4, veteran and local business owner Sam Peters led Republican fundraising efforts in the district this quarter. Peters’ campaign raised more than $135,000, which came entirely from individual contributions.

Those contributions were driven largely by retirees, as two-thirds of the 100 big-money contributions over $200 came from donors listing themselves as retired. Peters’ campaign was also boosted by a few maximum or near-maximum donations, including $5,800 from Frank Suryan Jr., CEO of Lyon Living, a residential development company based in Newport Beach, California, and $5,800 from Suryan’s spouse.

After spending a little more than $24,000, mostly on campaign consulting and fundraising services, Peters ended the quarter with nearly $115,000 in cash on hand, nearly double the amount he had at the end of the first quarter of 2021.

A district that includes Reno and much of rural Northern Nevada, District 2 has for two cycles been the only federal seat in Nevada still held by a Republican. The one-time seat of former Sen. Dean Heller and former Gov. Jim Gibbons, both Republicans, the seat has been held by incumbent Republican Mark Amodei since 2011, when he defeated Democrat Kate Marshall in a special election to replace the outgoing Heller. 

Mark Amodei (R) — incumbent

After Amodei spent close to a thousand dollars more than he raised through the first three months of 2021, his campaign war chest sits at $323,347 entering the second quarter.

His fundraising of nearly $78,000 came largely from big-money contributions totaling more than $50,000, including roughly 30 donations between $1,000 and $2,000. But Amodei was also boosted by several maximum or near-maximum donations from Margaret Cavin, owner of plumbing company J&J Mechanical in Reno ($5,600), and Uwe Rockenfeller, president of Boulder City-based engineering firm Rocky Research ($5,800).

Amodei’s fundraising was also boosted by a few large contributions from political committees, including $5,000 donations from PACs affiliated with MGM Resorts International and New York Life Insurance, $3,500 from a PAC affiliated with the aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corporation and $2,500 from Barrick Gold, a mining company.

Amodei’s spending was distributed across a wide range of categories, as he spent $7,625 on radio advertising, $4,000 on campaign consulting, nearly $20,000 on fundraising consulting, $12,750 on accounting services and more than $7,500 on meals and entertainment for contributor relations — including nearly $700 paid to cigar companies and more than $2,000 spent at Trattoria Alberto, an Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Located in the urban center of Las Vegas, the deep blue District 1 has been held by incumbent Democratic Rep. Dina Titus since 2012. Titus won the seat after losing a previous re-election bid in nearby District 3 in 2010, which she had held for one term after a win over Republican Rep. Joe Heck in 2008.

Dina Titus (D) — incumbent

With no clear challengers in the district, Titus finished the first quarter with the least money raised of any Nevada incumbent — she received $48,080, which was $1.85 less than she raised through the same period last year.

More than half of those funds were given by four PACs that contributed a combined $25,000. The American Institute of Architects’ PAC, a PAC associated with the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC gave $5,000 each, a pro-Israel PAC called Desert Caucus donated $10,000.

Titus also received $14,280 from individuals, including a $1,000 contribution from former Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin and a maximum contribution of $5,800 from Uwe Rockenfeller, president of Boulder City-based engineering firm Rocky Research.

After spending $37,000 in the quarter, Titus brought her cash on hand total to almost $340,000.

In push to oust regents from Constitution, pro-Question 1 PAC banks more than $470,000 in third-quarter fundraising

Nevadans for a Higher Quality Education, a pro-Question 1 super PAC with ties to the business community, reported raising $470,500 in the third quarter, setting the stage for a final campaign push to pass a ballot measure that would remove the Board of Regents from the state Constitution. 

According to a filing made with the secretary of state’s office last week, a majority of the PAC’s third-quarter funding came from just three sources: $235,000 from the Council for a Better Nevada, a political non-profit that backed a 2014 initiative to create a state appellate court and the controversial 2016 gun background checks initiative; $100,000 from a company linked to Stephen Cloobeck, the multimillionaire founder of the Diamond Resorts International timeshare company; and another $85,000 from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

The Council for a Better Nevada's executive director, Maureen Schafer, once served as the chief of staff for the UNLV medical school, and now works as the CEO of the development company overseeing construction and development of the medical school's long-delayed central building.

The remaining money came in a handful of five and four-figure contributions, including $25,000 from an LLC linked to Eureka Casino Resort CEO Gregory Lee and $10,000 from an LLC managed by former Cannery Casino Resorts owner Bill Paulos.

The PAC also saw contributions of $2,500 and $2,000, respectively, from the campaigns of Democratic Assemblyman Steve Yeager and Democratic Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, marking at least three such contributions from legislators ahead of November’s vote. Republican Sen. Keith Pickard’s campaign contributed $500 in the second quarter. 

The PAC’s third-quarter haul raises its total fundraising in the cycle to more than $596,000, with much of that money — $473,578 — having already been spent. Of that spending, about 80 percent of it, around $386,000, came in just the last three months.

Almost 90 percent of the third-quarter spending — roughly $338,000 — went to a collection of five consulting firms: California-based Winner & Mandabach Campaigns ($225,182) and Southern Nevada-based firms Woods Strategies ($63,894), Community Strategies Inc. ($35,000), The Warren Group ($10,000) and Sala Consulting ($4,000). 

The group spent an additional $34,300 on Washington, D.C.-based pollster the Mellman Group, which has a long history of polling Nevada elections (editor’s note: the firm has done past polling for The Nevada Independent). 

And though no advertising costs are listed in the PAC’s third quarter filing, at least some money has been spent on pro-Question 1 ads in the last few weeks. The group Yes on 1 for Higher Education launched an ad last week that purports Question 1 would “stop scandals and waste” and “put students first” if passed.  

A legislatively referred constitutional amendment that sailed through the legislative sessions in 2017 and 2019, Question 1 would amend the state’s Constitution by removing language referring to the Board of Regents, which governs the state’s higher education system, and placing the board under statute, instead.

Proponents of the question have argued the change would provide a necessary increase in oversight of the board by state legislators, who have for decades sparred with regents and chancellors over funding and accountability issues.

Opponents, including many regents and former Chancellor Thom Reilly, have argued that the amendment is a “solution in search of a problem” that would do little to advance the goals of higher education and that too little has been made clear about how exactly the Legislature will adjust the makeup of the higher education system should Question 1 pass. 

For more on Question 1 and for explainers of every 2020 ballot question, visit our elections page here.

Updated, 10/19/20 at 3:03 p.m. - This story was updated to include additional information about the Council for a Better Nevada.

Jar Jar Binks and Mayor Goodman have a lot in common

Ordinarily, I would assume that the plot, characters, and structure of The Phantom Menace would be common knowledge. However, since Star Wars’ first prequel was released over twenty years ago, the movie might take the same place in some of our readers’ minds as Xanadu (an early prequel in the Percy Jackson universe, if I remember correctly) does in mine — namely, as a bizarre, prehistoric artifact of an ancient, long-dead people referenced in illuminated writings and various cave scrawlings. Consequently, an explanation may be in order. 

The Phantom Menace was the first of a series of three prequels meant to describe the events that took place before the events portrayed in Star Wars and its subsequent sequels. More specifically, the prequels provide the narrative arc that led Anakin Skywalker to become Darth Vader, the N95-masked and ventilator-equipped antagonist of the Star Wars universe. 

In The Phantom Menace, it’s revealed that Anakin Skywalker was born in an anarcho-capitalist utopia, in which trade disputes are mediated by sword-wielding ninja warriors called “Jedi” and, when mediation fails, each counterparty to the contractual dispute deploys privately funded militaries to settle their grievances. Born a slave, a pair of Jedi discover that Anakin has a genetic condition that would enable him to become a very successful Jedi as well. So, using their supernaturally-honed sense of right and wrong, they proceed to engage in a mutually beneficial financial relationship with Anakin’s owner that results in the purchase of Anakin’s freedom but not the purchase of his mother’s freedom. 

Did I mention that the universe of The Phantom Menace is an anarcho-capitalist utopia?

One of the recurring manifestations of Anakin’s genetic condition, which shall remain nameless because [Editor’s note: We removed David’s 2,417-word profanity-laced rant against midichlorians as a service to our readers. Please express your thanks in the form of recurring donations here], is an impossibly high amount of luck. Through the power of his luck — or, as the Jedi call it, The Force — he is able to win a high-speed vehicular race, disable an invading droid army by single-handedly destroying its command-and-control vessel, and successfully flirt with a queen even though he’s just nine and she’s fourteen.

Anakin, however, is not the only character in The Phantom Menace with impossible amounts of luck. There is another.

Jar Jar Binks, an alien with a Jamaican accent, ostensibly serves as childlike comic relief. In that role, he frequently bumbles semi-destructively through several misadventures, nearly sabotaging the protagonists on several occasions, all while repeating various catchphrases. Towards the end of The Phantom Menace, his bumbling is, for once, immensely beneficial to the protagonists (in that it is quite destructive to the antagonists) and their allies and he helps save the day.

A few years back, a popular internet meme bubbled from the depths of Reddit that explained how Jar Jar Binks wasn’t a comic fool at all. Instead, the author argued, he was actually a Sith Lord, the ultimate evil in the Star Wars universe. The core of the argument is that Jar Jar, like Anakin, is impossibly lucky in exactly the same ways Anakin is. While Anakin destroys a droid army command vessel, Jar Jar successfully destroys an army column. Additionally, Jar Jar is somehow promoted as a general, then later as a senator, despite having no military or political experience. It’s almost as if he can Force people into changing their minds.

All of that, by itself, only demonstrates the possibility that Jar Jar Binks is a Force user — a potential Jedi, in other words. A Sith Lord, however, is an evil Jedi. Being a Sith Lord requires intent. Demonstrating intent, the Reddit post explains how Jar Jar successfully manipulated his way into the current of events, undermined Jedi authority in the eyes of Anakin, and sparks Anakin’s infatuation with Queen Amidala, whose ultimate demise triggers Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side and his transformation into Darth Vader. 

In short, by acting the incompetent fool, Jar Jar Binks is able to insert himself into the highest positions of trust, power and privilege. From there, he was able to successfully advance his sinister agenda. 

This brings me to the current mayor of Las Vegas. 

Ordinarily, when presented with someone of Mayor Goodman’s talents, I would utilize Hanlon’s Razor and refuse to attribute malice to that which can be satisfactorily explained through stupidity. Ordinarily, this would be a healthy attitude to adopt. We’re all stupid about something, after all, and we would all prefer to be given the benefit of the doubt when our ignorance inadvertently harms others. Why should we not extend her the same courtesy that we would like to see extended to ourselves? Besides, she clearly isn’t very bright. 

The difference between ignorance and malice, however, is what happens when new information is brought to our attention. When we’re being harmful out of ignorance, new information gives us the perspective we need to prevent future harm. When we’re being harmful out of malice, on the other hand, new information reinforces our intent since it proves that we’re hurting the right people.

With that in mind, Mayor Goodman started the week with a very unfortunate interview on MSNBC. The next day, she was interviewed for a full half hour by Anderson Cooper on CNN. Did she use the time between her MSNBC interview and her CNN interview to reconsider her message, to fine tune it, to finesse it into something broadly popular and effective? Did she use her time to bring balance to her message and the needs of public health?

Of course not. In fact, she doubled down. 

Doubled down on what, exactly? During both interviews, she presented what sounded, at least on the surface, as a pro-freedom, pro-business, and pro-worker message. Reopen Las Vegas (actual and observed) and get people back to work. At bumper sticker depth, this sounds reasonable enough and there is admittedly a grain of truth to it. A lot of businesses are closed and aren’t going to reopen. A lot of people are currently out of work and are unable to pay their bills. Put the two together and many of the paths used to generate the wealth required to support a reasonable standard of living for everyone are gone, probably to never return again. 

So what does Mayor Goodman want to do about it? 

The answer is she wants everyone to get back to work, virus be damned. “Everybody has it,” after all, at least in her mind, and the desert heat will cook it off if Las Vegans simply get outside more. If you’re a business owner, in her mind, you’ll either protect your employees and customers from the virus or you’ll get sued into oblivion. If you’re a laborer, you’ll either show up to work or die trying. Las Vegas shall be the “control,” with all doors wide open (would she volunteer to be a control subject to test the efficacy of parachutes, I wonder?), while the rest of the world takes the steps necessary to combat the previous epidemics she lived through. Live free (to serve as waitstaff for hire) or die.

That isn’t the logic of a wealth creator. It’s the logic of a slave master. 

Wealth creators seek to build wealth that builds additional wealth. Wealth creators see people as additional builders of wealth, each individual capable of bringing something unique and special into the world that doesn’t currently exist. The death of an individual is the death of his or her ability to add to the wealth of knowledge, experience, joy, and yes, material that individual contributed to the whole.

Slave masters, on the other hand, seek to extract wealth from the labor of others. They see wealth as a means to an end — their own self-aggrandizement. They see all wealth, whether human or machine, as disposable, consumable and interchangeable. Their goal is to maximize the wealth, status and prestige they extract from the world around them while minimizing the amount of energy and effort they have to put into doing so. Most importantly, they live to be served, preferably in public. When you see a middle-aged male protester demanding that strip clubs reopen, that’s a rent-to-own slave master demanding the help take his orders again. He doesn’t care about the health of the stripper, nor does he care about the health of the strip club. Like all aspiring slave masters, he cares only about his wants, his needs, and his costs.

Similarly, Mayor Goodman, in her mind, only looks good as long as Las Vegas looks good, and Las Vegas only looks good as long as the slot machines on Fremont Street (unlike The Strip, Fremont Street is actually within city limits) are humming. So what if they’re running at a loss, half of the staff is hospitalized, and there are fewer people walking through the Fremont Street Experience than there were at Fremont Street’s nadir in the mid-’90s? Without the glitz and glamor and reputation and wealth built from the labors of generations of Las Vegans, she’s just another mayor of an aging Fresno-sized city. 

She certainly can’t have that. It’s why she won’t shut up.

Don’t let her bumbling trick you, Mayor Goodman’s position is not a viewpoint constructed upon ignorance. If it was, she would have changed it as soon as President Trump, of all people, told her that she was wrong. She would have changed it when Stephen Cloobeck, CEO of Diamond Resorts, gave her ideas the lack of respect they deserve. She would have changed it when Georgia tried to reopen and several of Georgia’s businesses refused. No, her viewpoint is clearly built on personal avarice, fueled with malice against her constituents. Her seemingly aimless and addled behavior just helps her get away with it. 

Like Jar Jar Binks, Mayor Goodman likes to play the fool in front of the camera, and like Jar Jar Binks, she deserves every bit of ire sent her way. However, as we peer past the surface of her behavior to witness the evil within, there’s something else we must remember about the Sith. 

There are always two of them. No more, no less.

David Colborne has been active in the Libertarian Party for two decades. During that time, he has blogged intermittently on his personal blog, as well as the Libertarian Party of Nevada blog, and ran for office twice as a Libertarian candidate. He serves on the Executive Committee for both his state and county Libertarian Party chapters. He is the father of two sons and an IT professional. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidColborne or email him at

Coronavirus Live Blog: Confirmed cases now at 1,836 statewide; facility for homeless with COVID-19 slightly behind schedule

With the number of coronavirus cases in the Silver State on the rise, The Nevada Independent will be keeping you up to date on the latest here, both through regular live blog updates and updates to our infographic tracking cases around Nevada. The most recent updates will be posted at the top.

To see previous developments, you can visit our week one live blog here, our week two live blog here and our week three live blog (3/23-3/29) here. You can also see our live blog tracking economic developments from the first week here.



Note: The default view of the above spreadsheet shows positive cases as reported by the counties and the cumulative county-by-county total, which may differ from the total the state is reporting. Check the above infographic for the latest statewide case total.

Sunday state and county update: Positive COVID-19 cases now more than 1,830

Nevada health officials reported Sunday morning that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state is now at 1,836, with the confirmed cases count rising by 94 as compared to Saturday.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ dashboard of positive cases also showed a slight uptick in the percentage of positive cases from people tested — 10.9 percent — compared to Saturday, when the percentage was 10.8 percent. 

The Southern Nevada Health District reported on Sunday morning that the number of cases in the county is now at 1,519, a growth of 101 confirmed cases as compared to Saturday.

On Saturday, officials in Humboldt County reported two additional positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the rural county’s total number of cases to 11.

Washoe County health officials reported on Sunday afternoon that the county was reporting 19 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the county’s number of cases up to 264. 18 individuals in the county are currently hospitalized with the virus, and 29 cases have recovered.

Last updated 4/5/20 at 1:35 p.m.

Officials: Temporary shelter for homeless who have COVID-19 or were exposed is behind schedule

Officials say they’re slightly behind schedule on a temporary facility with the capacity to shelter 350 homeless individuals who need to be isolated or quarantined because they have or were exposed to COVID-19.

Authorities with Clark County and the City of Las Vegas issued a statement Sunday evening saying the Cashman Isolation-Quarantine Complex (Cashman ISO-Q) will not be ready to accept guests Monday evening as originally planned. They said they expect it to open this week, however.

“We were overly optimistic with our original timeline for the opening,” officials said. “While we have seen tremendous progress during the past seven days, it took slightly longer than expected to find staff, train them and get them all the protective and other equipment they need.”

The facility is geared toward people who don’t require hospitalization and would be directed to isolate at home, but do not have homes. It will include separate areas for people exposed to coronavirus, those who test positive, and those who test positive but are asymptomatic.

Officials have said homeless individuals “in need of quarantine will need a referral from a local shelter partner.” The complex will consist of tents, each one with staff and security, as well as water and sewer connections.

It’s expected to be a multimillion-dollar project staffed by more than 100 people.

“Without this facility those homeless individuals would be on the streets or in homeless shelters, both of which would put our community at risk for increased transmission of the coronavirus,” local government officials said.

Plans for the ISO-Q complex were unveiled just as the city and county were drawing widespread criticism for having homeless individuals sleep on an uncovered parking lot outside a large expo hall. The lot was used after a client at Catholic Charities’ men’s shelter tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the temporary closure of the shelter and overcrowding and the open-air Courtyard homeless services complex.

The parking lot has been retired as a sleeping area for the homeless now that the regular shelter has reopened.

The ISO-Q facility is geared toward people with some interface with COVID-19 rather than for Southern Nevada’s homeless population as a whole.

— Michelle Rindels, 4/5/20, 8:25 p.m.

Saturday state and county updates: State reports nearly 1,750 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus; statewide death total now at 46

The Department of Health and Human Services is reporting a total of 1,742 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Nevada, an increase of 191 from Friday night's number and 228 more than the state's last reported total Friday morning.

Positive cases represent 10.8 percent of the number of people tested, up slightly from 10.4 percent on Friday.

The Southern Nevada Health District announced Saturday morning two new deaths associated with COVID-19 in Clark County, bringing the countywide death total to 41 and the statewide death total to 46. Four people have died in Washoe County and one person has died in Elko County.

The health district also announced 139 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Clark County Saturday morning, for a total of 1,418 countywide. Clark County continues to have the most cases per capita in Nevada, with 63.5 cases per 100,000 residents.

Hospitalizations in Clark County were up to 362 Saturday morning, up 31 from the prior day.

Carson City Health and Human Services also announced two new cases, a female Carson City resident in her 70s and another in a Lyon County resident in her 30s. Both women are self-isolating at home in stable condition. Carson City is now up to 10 cases and Lyon County has three.

The Washoe County Health District announced on Saturday afternoon 16 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the countywide total to 245. There are no additional deaths or recoveries in the county and 215 cases remain active.

— Last updated 4/4/20 at 1:50 p.m.

Nevada urges people with medical backgrounds to join the state's coronavirus response

The Nevada Health Response Center and the Department of Health and Human Services are urging people with health care backgrounds to join the Battle Born Medical Corps, which will expand the state’s workforce during the coronavirus crisis.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the creation of the group Wednesday in an emergency directive that allows Nevada’s professional licensing boards to temporarily waive certain licensing requirements. The waiver will expire after the declared emergency is lifted.

The state is looking for a wide cross-section of professionals  — such as registered nurses, respiratory care practitioners, paramedics, medical laboratory technicians, pharmacists and medical and nursing students — to join the corps.

The waiver will allow retirees or workers not licensed in Nevada to help during the crisis, along with those who received medical training but never obtained a license and students who have completed a significant amount of training but have not yet graduated. But it does not apply to medical providers who have had their license revoked or those who voluntarily surrendered it because of disciplinary action.

People interested in joining the Battle Born Medical Corp can do so at

— Jackie Valley, 4/4/2020 at 7:07 p.m.

Five residents of veterans home test positive for COVID-19

Five of 161 residents at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Saturday.

All residents have been tested, but testing of team members continues. The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System and Nevada State Public Health Labs are helping with the testing.

“We are extremely grateful these residents are all doing well,” Nevada Department of Veterans Services Director Kat Miller said in a statement. “They all remain in isolation and are being cared for by our team members who are following established local, state, and federal guidelines to stop the spread of the virus.”

Officials noted that this was the first chance the home had to test all residents and team members because of the nationwide testing kit backlog. 

A phone line (702-332-6705) has been set up to provide updates on or before noon each day to community members, residents and relatives. 

— Jackie Valley, 4/4/20 at 5:30 p.m.

Friday state and county updates: Positive cases statewide surpass 1,550; death total rises to 44

The Department of Health and Human Services reported a total of 1,514 confirmed coronavirus cases Friday morning. By the end of the day, the statewide case total had risen to 1,551 and the death total was 44.

Although the number of cases reported by the state grew by fewer than 100, the number of patients who tested positive grew by 3.8 percent while the total number of people tested grew at a slower rate of 3.5 percent.

Southern Nevada Health District officials announced a total of 1,279 cases of the novel coronavirus Friday morning — up 154 from the previous day's total — and five new deaths.

The health district reported that roughly a fourth of coronavirus cases have led to hospitalizations. And of those hospitalizations, 15 percent of patients have ended up in the intensive care unit and 11 percent have been intubated. About 16 percent of all patients hospitalized have an underlying medical condition, such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease or diabetes.

Ninety-two percent of the people who died in Southern Nevada were hospitalized, and 56 percent of those people had an underlying medical condition, according to the health district.

Elko County officials reported two more cases on Thursday, bringing the county total to seven. The two new cases are a man and a woman in their 30s, and both are isolating at their homes, authorities said. The man is a close contact of a previously reported case.

Western Nevada officials reported a new case in Douglas County Friday morning. The resident is a woman in her 60s who is self-isolating at home. Douglas County also reported one recovery Friday. The county has reported seven total cases.

On Friday afternoon, Washoe County reported another 45 positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of reported cases in the county up to 229. County officials say 26 people have recovered from the virus, with the number of deaths still at four.

An eighth person has tested positive for coronavirus in Elko County, officials announced Friday afternoon. The patient, a man in his 40s, is isolating at home and is a close contact of a previously reported case.

Humboldt County officials also announced two new cases of the novel coronavirus Friday afternoon. The two cases are a man in his 50s and a woman in her 40s, both known close contacts of previously reported cases. Of the nine cases in Humboldt, four have been hospitalized and five are isolating at home.

Nye County also reported another positive COVID-19 case in Pahrump on Friday evening, driving the number of cases in the county up to seven total.

West Wendover Mayor Daniel Corona confirmed on Friday evening that an individual who tested positive for the virus earlier this week has died. It's the first COVID-19 related death reported outside of Clark and Washoe counties, and brings the statewide death total to 44. Elko County officials confirmed the death Saturday morning, a woman in her late 50s with underlying medical conditions who was not hospitalized at the time of her death.

— Updated 4/4/20 at 8:26 a.m.

Reno behavioral health hospital under investigation after dozens test positive for COVID-19

Nevada health authorities are actively investigating the Willow Springs behavioral health center in Reno after 24 youth and 11 staff tested positive for COVID-19.

A spokeswoman for the state’s Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance said in a press release on Friday evening that the state is actively investigating the behavioral health hospital, and that “measures are in place” to prevent further exposure to the virus. 

“The health and wellness of our patients and staff is of utmost importance and we are taking this matter seriously and cooperating with the State during their review of our facility,” Willow Springs Center CEO Andrew Herod said in a statement.

A staff member at the hospital, a woman in her 30s, was one of Washoe County’s four reported deaths from the virus. The Reno Gazette-Journal previously reported the state’s investigation into the treatment center.

— Riley Snyder, 4/3/20 at 6:01 p.m.

Gaming trade association CEO: ‘Deeply concerned’ over small business loan exclusions 

The head of the American Gaming Association said he was “deeply concerned” Friday morning by interim guidelines from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that do not allow small gaming companies to apply for a federal loan program known as the Paycheck Protection Program.

The loan program is aimed at helping small businesses stay afloat and keep employees on their payrolls during an economic downturn. But the American Gaming Association is concerned that their members will be precluded from using the small business relief program, an exclusion that the trade group says would affect about one-third of the casino industry. 

“In SBA’s efforts to quickly issue guidance on the [program], they relied on antiquated, discriminatory regulations that ignore today’s economic reality and the congressional intent behind the CARES Act, which states that any business concern shall be eligible to receive an SBA loan if they meet specific qualifications regarding their number of employees,” American Gaming Association president and CEO Bill Miller said in a statement Friday. 

The SBA does not typically extend economic disaster loans to businesses “deriving more than one-third of gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities.”

“Unless amended, these initial guidelines will irreparably harm one-third of the U.S. casino industry and the hundreds of thousands of Americans that rely on gaming businesses for their livelihood,” Miller wrote. “This decision will affect hard-working Americans from Pennsylvania to Nevada, Ohio to Colorado, and everywhere in between who need and deserve the same level of support as anyone across the country during these unprecedented times.”

On March 31, the trade group wrote a letter to the Department of Treasury, arguing that Congress intended to expand SBA eligibility under the CARES Act.

— Daniel Rothberg, 4/3/20 at 9:32 a.m.

Fundraising for coronavirus task force passes $10 million

A new coronavirus task force, led by former MGM CEO Jim Murren, announced Friday that it had raised more than $10 million since it was formed last weekend. 

The private sector task force is working to ensure that medical providers have access to personal protective equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, gloves, gowns and sanitizer. Murren said the task force continues to explore “global leads” for protective equipment. 

The $10 million in fundraising does not include PPEs that have been donated directly to medical professionals and first responders.

The task force reported donations from several contributors, including Nevada Gold Mines, the Elaine P. Wynn and Family Foundation, the Fertitta Family Foundation, Stephen J. Cloobeck, the Murren Family Foundation, the Engelstad Foundation, Las Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis, the Marnell Family Foundation, Phil and Jennifer Satre, UFC, the Peppermill Resort, Scott and Mary Alice Nielson, the Menzies Family Trust and the Binion Family Foundation. 

“The members of the task force and I are in awe of the generosity we’ve encountered from so many of our peers, friends and fellow Nevadans,” Murren said in a statement. “In today’s hyper-competitive market of medical supplies, it is critical that we have readily available funds to seize opportunities to purchase necessary supplies every time appropriate sourcing is secured."

— Daniel Rothberg, 4/3/20 at 9:00 a.m.

Thursday county and state updates: Death count rises to 38, more than 1,400 individuals test positive for COVID-19

Nevada’s statewide death total from COVID-19 has risen to 38, with the total number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the state now more than 1,400.

Updated totals published by the state and Clark County on Thursday morning show the death total has risen by six since Wednesday, all coming from new cases reported in Clark County, and statewide reported positive COVID-19 cases have increased by 179 compared to Wednesday.

Of the 1,125 positive cases reported in Clark County, 277 (or about 24.6 percent of cases) have required hospitalization, including 42 cases requiring an intensive care unit — figures that don’t include the 34 deaths reported in the county.

Of the reported deaths, 25 required an intensive care unit, and 22 of the cases (64 percent) had some form of an underlying medical condition, including 12 with hypertension and nine with diabetes.

Carson City health officials also reported another positive case on Thursday, a man in his 80s who is self-isolating at home and in stable condition. Carson City also reported one recovery, and has nine reported cases. 

In Washoe County, health district officials reported 21 additional cases on Thursday, bringing the county's total number of cases up to 184. Health officials also reported eight more individuals have recovered from the virus, for a total of 26 recoveries.

— Updated 4/2/20 at 3:27 p.m.

MGM CEO Hornbuckle says 60,000 employees outside of Macau are furloughed

MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle said the company has furloughed about 60,000 employees — the vast majority of its workforce outside of Macau.

Hornbuckle said in an interview with CNBC’s Contessa Brewer that the company has 82,000 employees worldwide. About 13,000 work in Macau, and 69,000 don’t.

“It’s been devastating,” Hornbuckle said about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

While casinos in Macau have opened after COVID-19 swept through Asia, Hornbuckle said they continue to leak cash aside from a few days with an operating profit. He said he expects the market to suffer until a visa system opens up the borders.

Hornbuckle said decisions to sell off assets in recent months have put the company in a stronger position to weather the economic crisis.

“We feel secure in knowing we have the opportunity to play safe, play the long game, and ultimately protect all of these jobs not only here but throughout the other states,” he said.

Asked when the resorts would open in the U.S., Hornbuckle said “when it’s safe.” He noted that business travel that makes up a large portion of MGM’s business is at a virtual standstill, with many events being postponed until the latter half of the year.

“We won’t necessarily want to be the first to open,” he said. “We’ll open this intelligently and hopefully with some forethought.”

— Michelle Rindels, 4/2/20 at 7:45 p.m.

Caesars Entertainment says it will furlough 90 percent of employees, says move is ‘critical to the future of our company’

Caesars Entertainment said Thursday that it is reducing its workforce to the lowest levels needed to keep up basic operations and expects 90 percent of its employees will be furloughed.

The company had previously announced that employees would be provided pay for the first two weeks of the closure but maintain health benefits through June 30 or when they return to work — whichever comes sooner. Furloughed staff will remain employees of the company.

“We are taking difficult but necessary steps to protect the company’s financial position and its ability to recover when circumstances allow us to reopen,” Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio said in a statement. “The Company entered this crisis with strong operating performance, which, combined with the steps we are taking now, are critical to the future of our company.”

Caesars is moving forward with a merger with Eldorado Resorts, although CNBC reports the deal is expected to close later than the originally planned April date.

The company has about 65,000 employees. In Nevada, the company includes Caesars Palace, Bally’s, the Paris, the Flamingo, the Rio and other resorts in Las Vegas, as well as Harrah’s and Harvey’s in Lake Tahoe.

By contrast, employees of Wynn Resorts and the Las Vegas Sands will be paid into May, executives at those two casino companies announced on Thursday.

Gov. Steve Sisolak has extended the closure of non-essential businesses, including casinos, until the end of April. It began in mid-March.

— Michelle Rindels, 4/2/20 at 6:15 p.m.

Asylum seeker with underlying health conditions released from ICE detention in Henderson after ACLU sues

One of the ICE detainees who is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Nevada has been released after the group raised concerns that his underlying health conditions could make him susceptible if there were an outbreak of COVID-19.

Christopher Njingu, a 51-year-old citizen of Cameroon who is seeking asylum after a civil war in his home country, was released on his own recognizance Thursday from the Henderson Detention Center, according to his lawyer, Enedina Kassamanian.

“He is elated. Just in tears, over the moon to be released,” Kassamanian said in an interview. “I do think [his release] was probably from pressure of the ACLU lawsuit.”

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday in federal court said that Njingu has hypertension and high cholesterol. Of the 34 deaths COVID-19 reported in Southern Nevada so far, more than one-third had hypertension as an underlying condition.

The other plaintiff, 45-year-old Mexican citizen Daniel Ramirez, remains detained. 

ACLU attorneys argued that spread of the virus within the detention facility could be more than medical staff could handle, and that detainees held on civil immigration matters were entitled to conditions superior to those detained on criminal matters.

Kassamanian said Njingu would likely transfer his case to the Washington, D.C. area, where his family is living. She said he’s better off than when he was in detention and in close proximity to other inmates.

“He remains at risk, but at least now he’ll have proper ability to stay six feet away,” she said. “Health wise, at least he’ll be able to protect himself.”

— Michelle Rindels, 4/2/20 at 5:40 p.m.

Hundreds of thousands of masks, gloves being delivered to Nevada through national stockpile, state task force

Rep. Mark Amodei and a private-sector Nevada task force have announced they have secured hundreds of thousands of items of personal protective equipment.

Amodei on Thursday said the state was receiving a shipment from the Strategic National Stockpile that includes more than 60,000 N95 masks, 144,000 surgical masks and more than 31,000 face shields. He said delivery started a few days ago and that the supplies will be distributed to Nevada health care facilities in accordance with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directions.

“While we can never say mission accomplished, these additional PPE supplies will help alleviate some of the frontline challenges our doctors, nurses, and health care professionals have been facing here in Nevada,” the congressman said in a statement, thanking federal agencies including Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for facilitating the donation.

He also said he expected a shipment within the next week of 15 Abbott ID NOW testing devices, which provide a COVID-19 test result within minutes.

Beyond the federal shipment, the Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief and Recovery Task Force led by former MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren announced that to date, it has helped secure the delivery of 241,000 N95 or equivalent masks, 700,000 surgical masks and 100 gallons of hand sanitizer.

Murren said in a statement that the task force “continues to pursue other global leads on PPE” and expects another 750,000 N95 masks in the next 10 days. 

“We could not have made this incredible progress without the necessary funds to purchase these supplies,” Murren said. “The generosity of our donors has made this possible.”

A task force spokeswoman said the shipment did not include previously announced donations of millions of items of PPE by the Las Vegas Sands, or the shipment from the national stockpile.

— Michelle Rindels, 4/2/20 at 3:54 p.m. (updated at 5:30 p.m. to reflect task force figures include Wynn donation)

Absent national push, Reno Mayor Schieve calls for city residents to start wearing masks

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve is now asking for every city resident to start wearing a cloth mask, scarf, bandana or other face coverings should they choose to leave their homes, a move that comes as state and local leaders continue to grapple with the possible long-term health effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 

During a virtual press conference Thursday, Schieve said in part that “this is not the time to be vain,” and that now is the time “to really stress how severe this situation is, especially over the next month.”

“I know that people might say, ‘Hey, that mayor is crazy,’ but I would much rather be crazy and protect our citizens the best that we can,” Schieve said. 

Schieve said the request is just that, a request, but absent recommendations from federal health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said she wanted to “take every precaution we possibly can.”

“A lot of people have said, ‘well it’s just the flu,’ — it’s not the flu,” Schieve said. “It’s 10 times more contagious than the flu, and not only that, we have a vaccine for the flu.”

She added that the use of N95 masks, which have been shown to be able to effectively filter the airborne particles that carry the coronavirus, should be reserved for health workers and first responders and, if available, donated to those workers instead. 

Schieve also called on those Nevadans who can stitch their own cloth masks to do so and joked that anyone who has gone to the Burning Man festival should already be readily equipped with a suitable bandana. 

Schieve also briefly addressed several transparency issues from the Washoe County Health District, which refused to brief officials on worst-case scenarios Wednesday after a news report regarding those scenarios appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal

The mayor said she didn’t know why the information was withheld, but added, “This is the time to be incredibly honest with the public.”

“I don’t want to make anyone panic, and maybe that’s their reasoning,” Schieve said. “But I think that people right now should be very vigilant and take this seriously. I think if we are not getting that kind of information from the health department, then it’s really hard for us to make the best decisions possible.”

Jacob Solis, 4/2/20 at 3:49 p.m.

Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts to continue paying employees amid shutdown

Two of the major casino operators in Southern Nevada — Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts — will continue paying their employees into May despite a nationwide shutdown of the legal gambling industry.

Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson wrote in an op-ed for the New York Post on Wednesday that he will continue to pay “every one of our nearly 10,000 employees as though they were still working,” including making up for lost tips. He called on fellow business executives to continue paying their employees for as long as they can to lessen the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To my fellow corporate executives who are looking at spreadsheets and trying to ­determine the impact this crisis will have on sales and share prices, let me say: Our job as business leaders is now as simple as it is challenging,” he wrote in the op-ed. “It is to maximize the number of employees and their families that we can help — and help them for as long as possible.”

On Thursday, Wynn Resorts announced it would continue paying all salaried, hourly and part-time employees through May 15, including an estimated tip amount for tipped employees. The company said the decision would affect more than 15,000 employees.

"It is our shared responsibility to follow the direction of health and safety professionals to stay home, and limit social contact," Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox said in a statement.  "We owe it to each other, our families and to our community."

— Riley Snyder, 4/2/20 at 12:33 p.m.

Horsford, House Democrats publish schedule for federal government’s COVID-19 assistance checks

The Internal Revenue Service will begin making direct COVID-19 assistance payments to Americans beginning April 13, with plans to begin mailing paper checks in May to low-income individuals who do not have direct deposit information on file with the federal tax agency.

The schedule and details for the payments — $1,200 for every adult, $500 per child with diminishing payments for individuals with incomes over $75,000 or $150,000 for joint filers — was reported Thursday by Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford’s office, which said he and his colleagues on the House Ways and Means Committee had requested more details on the payments from the IRS and Department of Treasury.

The first payments will begin on the week of April 13 to the roughly 60 million Americans with direct deposit information on file with the IRS from the previous two tax years. 

Then, the IRS will begin sending paper checks to individuals in May, with about 5 million checks sent out per week and directed to low-income individuals first. The agency expects it could take up to 20 weeks to get all of the checks sent out, but said individuals will be able to fill out a future “simple tax return” with the IRS to receive their payment through a direct deposit.

Individuals who receive Social Security payments and do not file tax returns will not need to file any additional return. Any individuals who do not file returns will be able to fill out the forthcoming “simple tax return” that contains baseline information such as name, Social Security number, dependents and deposit information to receive their payment.

Horsford’s office also said that the IRS plans to create a web portal by late April or early May that will allow taxpayers to check the status of their rebate payment, or change their direct deposit information.

— Riley Snyder, 4/2/20 at 9:42 a.m.

Nevada unemployment claims increase by more than 71,400

More than 71,400 Nevada workers filed initial unemployment claims with the state last week, as unemployment rates skyrocketed around the nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data, which was reported in a Thursday release by the federal Department of Labor, reported the initial claims filed during the week ending on March 28 had decreased slightly from the previous week, but combined show more than 163,700 new unemployment claims being filed in the state over the last two weeks.

Together, the claims filed in the last two weeks make up about 11.4 percent of the state’s seasonally adjusted workforce.

Nationally, more than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment for the week ending March 28, which marked the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.

Nevada felt initial economic pain when Gov. Steve Sisolak on March 20 ordered the closure of the state’s casino industry and later a “nonessential” business shutdown to mitigate spread of the virus.

Per the initial federal data, Nevada was one of only four states that saw its number of weekly claims decrease last week, joining Minnesota, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. 

— Riley Snyder, 4/2/20 at 8:30 a.m.

Humboldt County reports two more coronavirus cases

Humboldt County officials announced two more cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the countywide total to seven. According to county officials, 70 people have been tested for the virus and results are pending for 10 patients.

With the additional cases, Humboldt County has now exceeded Washoe County in cases per capita but is behind Clark County.

— Megan Messerly, 4/1/20 at 7:32 p.m.

Washoe County up to 163 cases of coronavirus, up by 20

Washoe County officials reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday evening, bringing the countywide total to 163.

There are 141 active cases of coronavirus in the county, 18 recoveries and four deaths.

— Megan Messerly, 4/1/20 at 6:09 p.m.

Washoe County officials describe 'alternative housing' options for people who can't safely isolate at home

Washoe County leaders on Wednesday described their plans to provide alternative housing to people affected by COVID-19 who cannot safely self-isolate at home.

State Sen. Julia Ratti, who is a Washoe County Health District employee, said the county is setting up trailers for general housing, where each unit comes equipped with a bed and bathroom. At full build out, the general housing could accommodate 300 people, she said. The county’s incident management team is working on plans for food service, security and staffing at the general housing site.

County officials are also working on supportive housing with about 43 beds for people who need more assistance, she said. The supportive housing units will come with three meals a day, a case manager and an advanced practice registered nurse

These housing options will be for people with symptoms of COVID-19 or those who have received a positive diagnosis and need a safe place to isolate. That includes everyone from a person experiencing homelessness to a college student living in a house with a grandparent who’s part of a high-risk demographic, Ratti said. Referrals will be made by the health district, hospitals, nonprofits and through the COVID-19 call center.

“We anticipate an increasing need for this type of housing,” Ratti said. “Our goal is to reduce the number of individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 by rapidly helping individuals who cannot safely isolate.”

Last month, the City of Reno opened the Reno Events Center for people experiencing homelessness. Portable restrooms with hand sanitizer have been placed around Washoe County as well.

Ratti said the county also plans to deploy hand-washing stations as soon as outdoor temperatures allow.

— Jackie Valley, 4/1/20 at 4:25 p.m.

Outdoor parking lot shelter for homeless to close after Catholic Charities shelter reopens

A cement outdoor parking lot that was characterized as a temporary homeless shelter will close on Thursday, officials from the City of Las Vegas and Clark County announced.

Sleeping spaces in a parking lot at Cashman Center, which were opened after a Catholic Charities shelter closed last week when a man tested positive for the novel coronavirus, were used by 591 homeless individuals over four nights. The Catholic Charities shelter has now reopened, local government officials said.

Construction is still ongoing on an isolation and quarantine complex inside Cashman Center, which will have the capacity to care for at least 350 homeless individuals amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The complex, which is slated to begin receiving patients on Monday at 6 p.m., will have separate areas for people who are quarantined because they have been exposed to the virus and those who are in isolation because they have tested positive but no symptoms.

Local government officials say homeless patients will be given resources and a case plan to help them transition from homelessness while at the isolation and quarantine complex. Clark County is overseeing the funding and construction of the facility, while the City of Las Vegas is overseeing operations and security. The facility is being jointly funded by both entities.

— Megan Messerly, 4/1/20 at 4:08 p.m.

Fourth person dies of COVID-19 in Washoe County

Washoe County health authorities on Wednesday announced a fourth death linked to coronavirus — a male in his 40s who had an underlying health condition.

Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick said the region extends its condolences to the man’s family and loved ones. His death brings the statewide fatality toll to 32.

Washoe County has reported 143 cases and 13 recoveries. Of the county’s active cases, 20 patients have required hospitalizations, Dick said. Washoe County officials expect to release updated case numbers later Wednesday.

— Jackie Valley, 4/1/20 at 2:43 p.m.

Board of Examiners recommends sending more than $6.2 million to state’s emergency management division for coronavirus response

The state Board of Examiners — comprised of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state — recommended that the state’s Interim Finance Committee move more than $6.2 million from the state’s Disaster Relief Account to the Division of Emergency Management Wednesday, the latest step by state leaders to fund the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Part of that money, $1.25 million, will be a contribution toward federal emergency management funds, while the remaining $5 million will go to the emergency management division for the acquisition of emergency supplies and the “immediate assistance” of state, local, county and tribal governments. 

The recommended allocation amounts to roughly half of the more than $12 million already in the state’s Disaster Relief Account. 

The Interim Finance Committee is scheduled to meet next on April 16. 

Jacob Solis, 4/1/20 at 2:25 p.m.

Gov. Sisolak requests ‘Major Disaster Declaration’ from Trump Administration

Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a request for a Major Disaster Declaration from the White House Tuesday, a request that would open up additional avenues for federal assistance under the existing national emergency proclamation. 

In a release, the governor’s office said the request would include additional public assistance funding, including disaster-related unemployment assistance, legal services, crisis counseling and training programs and mass care and emergency assistance. 

Issued through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Major Disaster Declarations require state governors to take certain steps, including declaring their own states of emergency, before receiving access to federal resources. 

The Trump Administration has not yet approved Nevada’s request, though other states reported waiting two days for their own approvals. 

More than two dozen states across the U.S. have already had their own requests for such a declaration approved, while several others have also filed pending requests over the last week. 

Nevada’s full, 41-page request is available here

Jacob Solis, 4/1/20 at 12:38 p.m.

SEIU Local 1107 condemns county decision to suspend collective bargaining agreements

The Service Employees International Union Local 1107 released a statement Wednesday blasting Clark County Manager Yolanda King for suspending collective bargaining agreements.

The union, which represents health care and public service employees, said the decision affects nearly 9,000 workers and their families, including some at University Medical Center.

“Ms. King’s decision to strip away collective bargaining agreements for thousands of workers is dangerous and reactive,” union officials said in a statement. “With Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages in Nevada and across the country, our frontline heroes now must contend with doing their jobs safely, while also fearing for their livelihood.”

The union went on to demand that the Clark County Commission reverse the decision. 

“It is clear that Ms. King is out of touch with the workforce and the needs of Clark County and UMC,” officials wrote.  “This decision is unacceptable - a betrayal and blatant attack against frontline healthcare and public workers.”

Clark County’s emergency declaration on March 15 included a line noting that “certain administrative functions require flexibility in staffing levels and assignments normally addressed in collective bargaining agreements and merit personnel systems.”

County officials say the action Is designed to make the government more nimble during this period.

“We are thankful for our employees’ selfless dedication to public service and appreciate all that they do,” County spokesman Erik Pappa said in a statement. “But current emergency conditions require that we suspend all collective bargaining agreements to allow us to more quickly change employees’ schedules and take other steps to make us all safer while providing critical services to our community. This was one of many necessary measures that we have used to make the County more responsive during this extraordinary time.”

Metro Police has also given employees notice that their collective bargaining agreements will be suspended.

— Jackie Valley, 4/1/20 at 12:30 p.m. and updated at 7:15 p.m.

Clark County secures up to 1,000 beds across hotels, motels, warehouses for coronavirus patients

Officials in Clark County announced Wednesday they had secured space for up to 1,000 beds for coronavirus patients across a dozen private facilities. Those facilities include local hotels, motels, warehouses, convention spaces and surgical centers. 

Officials say the new space will supplement planned expansion of Southern Nevada Health District facilities, which is expected to serve up to 40 patients at a time. 

The move comes ahead of a likely shortage of medical supplies and facilities should the coronavirus outbreak rapidly worsen. Medical experts say a widespread shortage of hospital beds could hamper efforts at treating the worst cases — an outcome already playing out across the world’s worst-hit coronavirus hotspots. 

Jacob Solis, 4/1/20 at 11:31 a.m.

Board of Regents delay searches for chancellor, UNR, UNLV presidents

The Board of Regents announced Wednesday that it will delay ongoing searches for permanent presidents at the state’s two flagship universities, as well as a new chancellor to replace Thom Reilly. 

The announcement comes as the spread of the novel coronavirus has ground many of the normal operations of the state’s colleges and universities to a halt. 

In an email sent to the search committees Wednesday, Board Chair Jason Geddes and Vice Chair Jason Doubrava confirmed the presidential searches would be pushed to September, while the search for a new chancellor would be moved to June. 

In the interim, the regents will mull short-term solutions at an emergency meeting next week to keep acting UNLV President Marta Meana and Reilly on board and extend their contracts through the end of 2020. They will also consider appointing an acting president to succeed UNR’s Marc Johnson, who told regents that he cannot remain in his post past the summer.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement by former Gov. Brian Sandoval that he would leave his post at MGM Resorts International in order to apply for the job at UNR.

UNLV has long been without a permanent president following the sudden ouster of former President Len Jessup in 2018. Johnson and Reilly, meanwhile, had given plenty of advance notice; both had announced their respective retirements several months ago, and regents had originally planned to appoint replacements by the summer. 

Jacob Solis, 4/1/20 at 10:54 a.m.

Five more cases confirmed in rural Nevada

Northern Nevada health officials confirmed four new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, including three in Carson City and one in Lyon County, while another new case was reported in Nye County. 

The new numbers bring the case total in the Carson City-Lyon-Douglas-Storey County region to 16, and the total in Nye County to six. 

The new cases in Carson City include a man in his 50s, an 18-year-old with close contact to another confirmed case and a woman in her 40s. The new Lyon County case is a woman in her 70s, and the case in Nye County was identified in Pahrump.  

All four Northern Nevada cases are self isolating at home and are in stable condition. No additional information was available for the case in Nye County.  

Jacob Solis, 4/1/20 at 10:35 a.m.

Number of confirmed coronavirus cases surges to 1,279, total dead rises to 31

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus statewide rose by 166 Wednesday morning, pushing the caseload to 1,279. 

Five more deaths also were reported in Clark County, increasing the number killed by the virus to 31. It raises the mortality rate slightly to 2.4 percent statewide and 2.9 percent in Clark County, which has recorded 28 deaths. With testing remaining limited and the true scope of infections unknown, however, the mortality rate is likely unrepresentative.  

The increase in confirmed cases — at least 100 new cases have been reported each day over the last week — comes both as testing capacity ramps up and as the virus continues to spread. Increases remain most concentrated in populous Clark County, which has seen confirmed cases surge by 25 percent in two days, and deaths double in three days.  

The state has so-far tested 12,798 people for coronavirus, with roughly 10 percent of those tests coming back positive. 

Jacob Solis, 4/1/20 at 8:52 a.m.

New Sisolak directive extends grace periods for expiring licenses and permits issued by state, locals

A new emergency directive by Gov. Steve Sisolak will grant extensions and longer grace periods for any set-to-expire license or permit issued by state or local authorities.

The order, issued late Tuesday night, allows for any license or permit issued by state authorities that is due to expire after the initial state of emergency declaration on March 12 to receive a 90-day extension from its current expiration date or 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted, whichever is later. 

“Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, Nevada residents are facing restricted travel and should not be penalized for doing the right thing and staying home,” Sisolak said in a statement. “With this order, Nevadans don’t have to worry about losing legal rights while they focus on staying healthy.”

The order also applies to any expiring business license that was scheduled be renewed after March 12, and allows the payment of any business license fee owed to the state to be paid within 60 days after the state of emergency is lifted. It also extends the statute of limitations on any filing of legal action or notice to 30 days after the state of emergency is lifted. 

The order comes a day after the Nevada Sheriffs’ and Chiefs' Association announced a joint agreement between the 17 county sheriffs that any and all concealed carry firearm permits that expire on or after March 12 will be extended until July 15, because of police agencies rolling back operations to mitigate spread of the virus.

Directive 009 by Riley Snyder on Scribd

— Riley Snyder, 3/31/20 at 8:37 p.m.

State asks tow operators to limit operations amid “overzealous” complaints from HOAs

At least two Nevada state agencies are asking tow truck operators to limit operations to “essential” functions amid multiple complaints of “overzealous” homeowner associations.

Both the state’s HOA ombudsman and Nevada Transportation Authority Chair Dawn Gibbons issued advisory statements on Tuesday warning tow operators — declared an “essential” business and allowed to operate during the COVID-19 business shutdown — that they should limit operations to “essential services.”

“The governor’s office advises that it has received complaints of overzealous enforcement of parking regulations at residential complexes leading to burdensome costs for citizens attempting to live under the virus mandates,” Gibbons wrote in a notice. “I remind all tow car carriers that their designation as essential services during this period of the virus comes with certain responsibilities. As an essential service, you should make every attempt during these times to limit your services to those that are in fact essential.”

Gibbons wrote that essential services should be limited to things like a vehicle blocking a fire hydrant, fire lane, parked in a handicap reserved space or parked in a space “clearly marked” for a specific resident or unit in a residential complex.

Charvez Foger, the ombudsman for the Real Estate Division’s HOA agency, also sent out a notice to all homeowner association boards urging them to dial down enforcement of parking or other violations given the larger number of families “hunkering down together in an effort to comply with guidance from the governor’s office.

“During this unprecedented time, many Nevadans are currently and/or will be struggling to make ends meet,” he wrote in the letter. “The added cost and inconvenience of having their vehicle towed could be especially detrimental.”

Foger specifically asked HOAs to pause any towing or fines caused by a household’s attempt to follow social distancing guidelines, such as parking too many cars on a street or in a driveway.

Nevada has nearly 3,000 homeowner associations statewide.

— Riley Snyder, 3/31/20 at 7:29 p.m.

DETR expects unemployment expansion guidelines from Labor Department in coming days

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced Tuesday that it had entered into an agreement with the Department of Labor this weekend to begin expanding unemployment insurance benefits to workers not typically covered by the program. 

Last week, Congress extended unemployment insurance to cover independent contractors, gig workers, part-time workers and self-employed workers as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The federal bill could also increase weekly unemployment benefit coverage, regardless of worker classification, by $600 and extend coverage by 13 weeks. 

But the state agencies are awaiting guidelines on how to implement the expanded program, even as independent contractors are eager to apply. In a press release Tuesday, DETR said that the programs are not yet available but encouraged contractors to monitor a web link.

“I am pleased to see that we are one step closer to being able to address the needs of  independent contractors and others who historically have not been covered under our traditional unemployment system,” Tiffany Tyler-Garner, DETR’s director, said in a statement. 

Although she called the agreement “the first essential step in getting the required funding and administering the programs,” Tyler-Garner said that the agency expected “to face new complexities that come with launching a new program.”

The press release said DETR expects to receive guidance on implementation from the Department of Labor “in the coming days.”

— Daniel Rothberg, 3/31/20 at 6:34 p.m.

Two Pahrump residents test positive for COVID-19; Nye County up to four cases

Two women in Pahrump have tested positive for COVID-19, Nye County officials reported Tuesday evening, driving the number of positive cases in the county up to four.

The cases included a woman in her 60s and another woman in her 70s, both residents of Pahrump who are in quarantine. Earlier on Tuesday, the county reported another positive COVID-19 case, a man in his 40s in Amargosa Valley.

“Emergency Services is continuing to investigate the source of the infection for all three patients and retracing their movements for the past few weeks,” county spokesman Arnold Knightly said in a press release. “The public is urged to follow the governor’s guidance and Stay Home For Nevada.”

The county’s first case was reported last week in Beatty. The patient has recovered after a period of self-isolation.

— Riley Snyder, 3/31/20 at 6:27 p.m.

Rural Humboldt County up to five confirmed COVID-19 cases, high-risk people asked to shelter in place

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in rural Humboldt County has risen to five, county officials announced on Tuesday.

The county reported that two cases were confirmed Tuesday, another two were confirmed on Saturday and the county’s first case was confirmed last Thursday. The county has tested 60 people for the virus, with nine cases pending.

“Humboldt County residents should limit movement outside the home to essential activities only,” Humboldt County Health Officer Charles Stringham said in a press release. “People at high risk, including people over 60, people with underlying health conditions, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women, should shelter in place now.”

Humboldt General Hospital is asking any available retired or otherwise available health care providers to reach out if they’re able to join hospital staff on a temporary basis. Humboldt County has a population of about 16,500.

— Riley Snyder, 3/31/20 at 6:01 p.m.

Washoe County up to 143 COVID-19 cases, 20 individuals hospitalized

Washoe County reported an additional 22 cases of COVID-19 in the county on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the county’s total number of reported cases up to 143 with 20 individuals requiring hospitalization.

The county also reported through its interagency Regional Information Center that three individuals have reported recovering fully from the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of recoveries up to 13. It also reported that two additional Reno Police Department officers and a Truckee Meadows firefighter have tested positive for the virus.

The county has also established temporary housing on the corner of Mill Street and Edison Way to “serve the needs of individuals/families who have tested positive for COVID-19 and need alternative housing for isolation purposes.” Seven units, each with five rooms, are expected to be ready by as early as the end of this week.

— Riley Snyder, 3/31/20 at 4:48 p.m.

City of Las Vegas, Clark County announce construction of tents for homeless in need of quarantine, isolation at Cashman Center

Amid an outcry that Las Vegas was using a cement outdoor parking lot as a temporary homeless shelter, the city of Las Vegas and Clark County said in a press release on Tuesday that construction was beginning on an isolation and quarantine complex (ISO-Q Complex) that would include tents. 

The complex is expected to open on April 6, and it will include at least three separate areas for individuals exposed to the coronavirus, individuals who test positive and individuals who test positive but are asymptomatic. The facility will have at least 350 beds, and the press release said that half of the beds will be used for isolation, while another half will be used for quarantine.

According to the press release, homeless individuals “in need of quarantine will need a referral from a local shelter partner.” The facility will consist of tents, each one with staff and security. The press release did not say how many tents will be constructed. 

Clark County plans to fund the construction of the ISO-Q Complex, according to the press release, but the city will be responsible for operations, including security. The city also plans to provide water to the facility and a sewer connection. Individuals in quarantine and individuals in isolation because they tested positive will have separate restrooms and sleeping areas. 

The press release did not provide additional details about how city and county officials plan to address the broader homeless population.

— Daniel Rothberg, 3/31/20 at 1:21 p.m.

Las Vegas Sands announces donation of 2 million medical masks, 20,000 protective suits

Las Vegas Sands is donating personal protective equipment to help protect first responders, medical professionals and non-profit groups responding to the coronavirus pandemic and in need of additional resources.

Through the donation announced on Tuesday, Nevada and New York will each receive one million medical masks, according to a press release from the company. Additionally, Nevada hospitals and first responders will receive 20,000 protective suits.

“Hopefully our donations will help protect people on the front lines so they can continue their invaluable work, and we can start to see the numbers of people affected begin to diminish,” Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson said in a statement.

The move comes one day after former MGM CEO Jim Murren, who is leading the new COVID-19 task force, said the state would need hundreds of thousands of units — and in some cases, millions of units — to bridge a supply gap for certain types of protective equipment.

Other gaming companies have also donated protective equipment for health care responders in Las Vegas. Last week, Wynn Resorts announced a donation of 240,000 N95 respirator masks, 600,000 surgical masks and 500,000 medical gloves.

Las Vegas Sands, in its press release on Tuesday, said that it had previously donated 105,000 masks to medical professionals and first responders in Las Vegas.

— Daniel Rothberg, 3/31/20 at 11:31 a.m.

Southern Nevada Health District to notify people with texts, emails about exposure to COVID-19 patients

Southern Nevada health officials are launching a system that will notify people through text or email if they are known to have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or traveled to an area that is a hotspot for the disease.

The Southern Nevada Health District announced the new system on Tuesday. It will be targeted to people who are known to have been exposed but are at a lower risk of having COVID-19.

The alert will advise the recipient, based on their circumstances, to monitor their symptoms and possibly to self-quarantine for 14 days. It also links to further information for the recipient.

Some people may receive a phone call in addition to the text or email message.

“As more testing occurs in Southern Nevada and the state, more cases of COVID-19 will be identified and reported,” the agency said in a press release. “Health District staff is continuing to look for resources and solutions to manage the outbreak and provide the community with information.”

Officials noted that the health district has reassigned staff to help with “contact investigations” that identify people at high risk of infection because of their exposure to someone who has tested positive.

— Michelle Rindels, 3/31/20 at 11:37 a.m.

Cases confirmed at Pyramid Lake Paiute reservation, as well as Douglas, Nye counties

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on the reservation in a press release and issued a “shelter-in-place” order for Wadsworth, Nixon and Sutcliffe. 

The individual, who lives in Sutcliffe, about 45 minutes north of Reno, has underlying medical conditions and is hospitalized. 

“The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has a responsibility to protect our communities and is deeply concerned for the health and well-being of our people and communities,” tribal leaders said in the press release. “This Shelter in Place action will take effect immediately through April 10, 2020.”

The tribe announced last week Pyramid Lake would be closed “indefinitely” to all non-tribal members for recreational activities, such as fishing. 

Pyramid Lake Fisheries announced Monday that it would not be conducting any spawning of fish, adding that “no fish will be available to Tribal members until further notice.” In an effort to provide greater access to food, however, tribal member Autumn Harry has been catching and giving cutthroat trouts to community members. 

Elsewhere in rural Nevada, officials announced on Tuesday that a sixth person in Douglas County had tested positive for COVID-19. The person is a woman in her 50s who is self-isolating at home.

It marks the 12th confirmed case in the “quad county” region that includes Lyon, Storey, Douglas and Carson City counties.

Nye County also announced a second confirmed case on Tuesday. The patient is a man in his 40s who lives in Amargosa Valley and is self-isolating at home.

— Jazmin Orozco-Rodriguez & Michelle Rindels, 3/31/20 at 10:30 a.m.

SNHD approves spending for temporary lodging structure for those in isolation because of COVID-19

The Southern Nevada Health District’s board has approved spending for a temporary lodging structure, geared toward people affected or displaced by COVID-19, at the health district’s Decatur Boulevard complex.

The board unanimously approved the request for the project, which is estimated to cost $3 million, during a teleconference emergency board meeting. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to pay 75 percent of costs, with the health district and possibly local government agencies picking up the rest of the tab. 

Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who sits on the health district’s board, said the temporary structure is more cost-effective than what FEMA was offering to do, and will help manage costs to quarantine special populations such as those in assisted living or the homeless. She said sheltering tough-to-house people has at times been costing $1,000 a day.

Acting health district chief Fermin Leguen said people could use the facility for up to the 14 days they would need to quarantine, or for shorter periods of time as they transition out of a hospital.

Plans call for 40 distinct pods in the structure, but other details about the shelter were unclear. District officials couldn’t say whether there would be a bathroom inside each pod, or who would be providing food service.

Leguen said it would be staffed by district staff, temporary staff and volunteers.

Earlier, North Las Vegas City Councilman Scott Black, who chairs the health district’s board, said that the facility could also house visitors to Las Vegas who are unable to safely return home. Its target market would be for people who do not need the level of care provided in a hospital.

“This facility will help achieve the important goal of freeing up hospital beds for the most critical patients,” Black said in an email on Monday.

— Michelle Rindels, 3/31/20 at 10:10 a.m.

Eight additional COVID-19 deaths reported in Southern Nevada; statewide death toll now 26

The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting eight additional deaths stemming from COVID-19.

The agency’s update Tuesday morning reports 23 deaths in Clark County, up from the 15 reported on its site on Monday.

Combined with three reported deaths in Washoe County to date, the statewide death toll is 26.

The health district reported that 22 of its fatal cases had been hospitalized, and 15 had an underlying health condition, with diabetes and hypertension among the most common.

The district has confirmed 869 total Southern Nevada cases as of Tuesday, including 145 patients who were hospitalized, excluding those who have died. Of the hospitalized patients, 27 are in the intensive care unit and 18 are intubated.

— Michelle Rindels, 3/31/20 at 8:30 a.m.

Positive cases jump to 1,113, up more than 100 over 24-hour period

Nevada reports 1,113 people tested positive for COVID-19, up more than 100 from the same time a day earlier.

The latest numbers were reported Tuesday morning by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. On Monday morning, there were 996 positive cases.

With the state reporting 11,794 people tested, about 9 percent of people are turning up positive.

There have been 18 deaths reported.

Michelle Rindels, 3/31/20 at 7:42 a.m.

Confirmed coronavirus cases statewide rise to 1,044, total deaths remain at 18

The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Nevada rose to 1,044 Monday night, though the total deaths remained at 18, according to the state’s tracking website. 

The state has so-far conducted more than 13,600 tests on 11,400 people, with the vast majority of those tests — just over 10,400 — coming back negative. 

With the number of deaths remaining constant, the mortality rate dipped slightly to 1.6 percent, while the percentage of positive tests remained roughly steady at 9.1 percent. 

Jacob Solis, 3/30/20 at 8:54 p.m.

Amid shortage, state public health lab in Reno will send 1,000 coronavirus collection kits to Southern Nevada

The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory in Reno will send 1,000 coronavirus collection kits to the Southern Nevada Health District this week amid an ongoing shortage of testing supplies at public health labs in Las Vegas. 

Those collection kits, which are being made at the state health lab, are used to collect the samples that are ultimately analyzed by a testing kit. 

Dr. Mark Pandori, director of the state health lab, told The Nevada Independent that additional collection kits had to be manufactured after hitting “zero supply,” even though the state maintains thousands of test kits on hand. 

Though the state health lab and two private labs have processed more than 2,500 tests each over the month of March, ongoing shortages at the Southern Nevada Health District’s lab have limited its testing capacity to about 500 tests over the same time period. 

At a press briefing Sunday, Gov. Steve Sisolak said the state has yet to receive any testing supplies from the federal government, despite submitting four requests for such equipment. 

Jacob Solis, 3/30/20 at 6:38 p.m.

Two more Washoe County residents die after contracting COVID-19 bringing statewide deaths to 18

Two more Washoe County residents have died after contracting the novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide death total to 18, county officials announced Monday.

One was a woman in her 30s with an underlying health condition. The other was a woman in her 80s also with underlying health conditions.

Washoe County officials also announced 10 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the number of confirmed cases countywide to 121. There are 1,008 cases of COVID-19 statewide.

The health district additionally announced that two more people have officially recovered from the novel coronavirus, bringing the total recoveries in the county to 10. There are 109 active cases of COVID-19 in Washoe County.

— Megan Messerly, 3/30/20 at 3:54 p.m., updated at 5:59 p.m.

Two workers at McCarran Airport test positive for coronavirus

The Clark County Department of Aviation announced Monday that two employees at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Officials say both initially self-reported their symptoms, and both remain under self-isolation at home. 

The employees had most recently worked shifts on Thursday and Friday, respectively, though they did not work similar shifts or in similar areas of the airport. 

Officials say their work areas have since been sanitized, and there is no reason to believe that either had any extensive exposure with travelers passing through McCarran. 

Jacob Solis, 3/30/20 at 5:50 p.m.

Southern Nevada Health District to consider emergency funding for additional COVID-19 health care site

The Southern Nevada Health District Board of Health will consider the construction of an alternate COVID-19 health care site at the health district’s Decatur Boulevard complex at an emergency meeting Tuesday morning.

According to Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who sits on the health district’s board, the facility will be a one-stop shelter for people who need to be quarantined for 14 days away from the general population but do not require hospital care, such as people who reside in assisted living facilities. The shelter, she said, will be placed behind the Southern Nevada Health District’s existing building.

North Las Vegas City Councilman Scott Black, who chairs the health district's board, said that the facility could additionally be used to house infected homeless individuals and visitors to Las Vegas who are unable to safely return home.

"This facility will help achieve the important goal of freeing up hospital beds for the most critical patients," Black said in an email.

Renderings of the site posted online depict a small freestanding facility with the words “emergency room” on it with 30 individual hospital-style beds inside. Another rendering shows a biocontainment unit pod with a handwritten scribble that indicates health district officials may build five such units at the facility to the tune of $20,000 apiece.

Health district officials estimate that the facility will cost $3 million, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency expected to pay 75 percent of costs. The health district’s portion of the bill is expected to be between $750,000 and $800,000, with local government agencies possibly asked to contribute.

Funding for the project will be considered at the board’s meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

— Megan Messerly, 3/30/2020 at 5:40 p.m., updated at 6:06 p.m. to include additional information from Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick and 6:16 p.m. to include additional information from North Las Vegas City Councilman Scott Black

Elko county officials announce two new coronavirus cases, raising total to five

Two more cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed by Elko County health officials Monday, bringing the rural county’s total number of infections to five. 

The news comes after confirmation this afternoon that at least one of those cases is in West Wendover, near the Utah border. 

Officials say both cases, a woman in her 50s with “no remarkable travel history” and a man in his 30s who had close contact with a case from another county, are self isolating at home and remain under investigation.

Jacob Solis, 3/30/20 at 4:20 p.m. 

Nevada’s U.S. District Courts move to video, teleconferencing for certain hearings amid coronavirus outbreak

Nevada’s federal court system announced today it will shift to videoconferencing and teleconferencing for certain criminal trials in the latest step taken by the justice system to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus at the state’s federal courthouses. 

The shift comes after Congress approved remote hearings in the so-called CARES Act, the first of two coronavirus relief packages to pass through Washington earlier this month. 

Today’s announcement comes after ongoing concerns that the country’s justice system would remain particularly vulnerable to effects from the coronavirus — and after weeks of scrambling from the federal court system’s policy arm to find possible solutions to in-person proceedings.

Nevada’s federal courts had already moved to close public access to the clerk’s office on March 19 in addition to a directive to eliminate in-person hearings “whenever feasible.”

Jacob Solis, 3/30/20 at 3:25 p.m.

Office of Military assigned with helming Nevada’s COVID-19 response efforts; national guard not yet activated

Nevada’s Office of the Military will now spearhead the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Monday afternoon.

The move aligns the state Division of Emergency Management and the Department of Health and Human Services with the Office of the Military, which is composed of the Nevada Army and Air National Guard, which have more than 4,300 trained military professionals between them. Sisolak has not yet, however, formally activated the national guard for emergency response to the pandemic.

Under the new arrangement, the Office of the Military will be responsible for coordinating activities between the Division of Emergency Management, the Department of Health and Human Services and other state agencies and will report directly to the governor’s office. The office is led by Major General Ondra L. Berry, the adjutant general for the Nevada National Guard who has more than 35 years of military experience and a retired Reno police officer.

Sisolak, in a statement, said he was “proud” of the state’s response so far but that the shift would make the state’s emergency operation “even more organized, responsive, and efficient.”

“Now, more than ever, we must work as a team to deliver locally executed, state managed, and federally supported solutions to the COVID-19 crisis,” Sisolak said. “To be successful across the State – from the smallest town, to every Tribal reservation or colony, to our largest cities – we must utilize every resource we have to act decisively and immediately.”

Sisolak has additionally appointed Caleb Cage, a former chief and homeland security advisor with the Division of Emergency Management, to assist with the state’s COVID-19 response. Cage is currently assistant vice chancellor for workforce development and community colleges for the Nevada System of Higher Education.

The state will continue to provide updates through its Nevada Health Response Center but is putting its daily situation reports on hold during the transition.

 — Megan Messerly, 3/30/20 at 2:42 p.m.

Fourth positive COVID-19 case confirmed in Elko County, first in West Wendover

The small Nevada-Utah border town of West Wendover has confirmed its first positive case of COVID-19, according to Mayor Daniel Corona.

The case is the fourth reported in Elko County, and the first in West Wendover, which has a population of about 4,600. Corona said in a Twitter message that the individual tested positive at a local health clinic and is self-isolating at home.

— Riley Snyder, 3/30/20 at 2:41 p.m.

Nevada COVID-19 cases surpass 1,000

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Nevada has risen to 1,008, an increase of 84 cases since the last reported statewide total on Sunday.

The state updated its dashboard of confirmed cases on Monday morning to show that it has now tested about 11,215 people and performed 13,349 tests for the virus statewide. The “new” reported tests are likely results from Sunday or even earlier, given the length of time required to complete a test for the virus.

The number of reported deaths caused by COVID-19 is at 16, including one death in Washoe County and 15 deaths in Clark County.

— Riley Snyder, 3/30/20 at 9:57 a.m.

Statewide death total now at 16; Clark County cases up to 753

The number of statewide deaths caused by COVID-19 has risen to 16 individuals, according to data published Monday by the Southern Nevada Health District.

Data published by health officials shows the number of cases in Clark County has risen to 753 cases, including 100 individuals who have been hospitalized and 22 requiring an Intensive Care Unit. Of individuals hospitalized, 23 of them had an underlying medical condition.

Of the 15 deaths reported in Clark County, 13 of the individuals had an underlying medical condition, including six individuals with diabetes and five with hypertension. Washoe County reported its first death from the virus on Sunday; a man in his 40s with recent travel history to New York.

— Riley Snyder, 3/30/20 at 9:04 a.m.

Nevada COVID-19 cases nearly up to 1,000

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Nevada has risen to 996, an increase of more than 72 cases since the last reported statewide total on Sunday.

The state reported Monday morning that it has now tested about 11,000 people and performed about 13,000 tests for the virus statewide. The “new” reported tests are likely results from Sunday or even earlier, given the length of time required to complete a test for the virus.

The number of reported deaths caused by COVID-19 remained constant at 15.

— Riley Snyder, 3/30/20 at 8:30 a.m.

Incumbent congressional Democrats enter 2020 with wide head-start on fundraising race, filings show

Voter registration forms

As 2019 wound to a close, the season of giving proved to be a boon for incumbent Democrats Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, who combined to rake in more than $1 million ahead of the December 31 deadline, according to filings made last week with the Federal Election Commission.

Nine Republican candidates across both Lee and Horsford’s districts combined to raise roughly $1 million themselves, but more than half of that sum —  about $536,000 — came in the form of candidate loans. 

Lee and Horsford will likely be the only of Nevada’s four House members to see competitive elections in 2020. Lee in particular has already become a frequent target for national Republicans, who have sought to tie the moderate Democrat to the party’s progressive left wing in the wake of December’s vote to impeach President Donald Trump. 

In the less competitive District 1 and District 2, represented by Reps. Dina Titus and Mark Amodei, respectively, there was far less fundraising activity. The two incumbents raised less than $300,000 combined, and no challenger in either district has yet to bring in more than five-figures. 

Below is a breakdown of fourth-quarter fundraising data by congressional district, ordered by the total money raised by declared candidates in that district. 

District 3

Much like the third quarter, incumbent Democrat Susie Lee led all of the state’s congressional candidates with more than $600,000 in fourth-quarter fundraising, bringing her total on the year past $2 million and leaving her campaign with more than $1.5 million cash on hand — by far the most of any congressional candidate in the state up for election in 2020.

It was also among the best fundraising hauls among all House members. For the first time, Lee cracked the top-50 House fundraisers, sandwiched at number 46 between fellow Democrats Reps. Sheri Bustos of Illinois and Jennifer Wexton of Virginia. 

A little more than half of Lee’s fourth-quarter total, about $353,000, came from individual donors, while another $145,000 came from political action committees (PACs). The remaining $100,000 for the quarter came through a transfer from another of Lee’s campaign committees.  

Individual donations are capped by federal law at $2,800 per candidate, per election, meaning no donor can give more than $5,600 directly ($2,800 for the primary, and another $2,800 for the general election). 

Among those individual donors who maxed out their contribution to Lee are a number of Las Vegas business heavyweights, including Cashman Equipment CEO Mary Kaye Cashman, MGM Resorts International President William Hornbuckle and businessman and frequent Democratic donor Stephen Cloobeck. 

Among the $147,000 Lee spent last quarter, much of it ($69,000) was split between salaries ($30,000) and consultants, including $26,000 to Colorado-based digital consultant 4Degrees Inc., $9,000 to Virginia-based fundraising consultant Fiorello Consulting and $3,750 to the Maryland-based Maccabee Group for research consulting. 

Another Democrat, Richard Hart, filed for the 2020 race in late 2018, but has yet to file any other documents with the FEC in the time since. 

Though Lee has so far outpaced any possible Republican rivals, two candidates have so-far dominated the fundraising race for the GOP: former state Treasurer Dan Schwartz and ex-pro wrestler Dan Rodimer. 

Schwartz held a narrow edge over Rodimer in fourth quarter fundraising ($302,000), fundraising on the year ($565,000) and cash on hand ($447,000) — though he has also poured an extensive amount of his own money into the race in the form of personal loans. Schwartz gave his campaign $250,000 in the fourth quarter alone, boosting his loans for the year up to nearly $430,000, or roughly three-quarters of his total campaign war chest. 

Of the almost $53,000 Schwartz spent last quarter, most went to political consultants. That includes $21,000 to local firm McShane LLC and $10,000 to North Carolina-based Saligram and Associates for fundraising consulting. 

Close behind Schwartz is Rodimer, who raised $250,000 through the fourth quarter and $502,000 over the year, leaving his campaign with $294,000 cash on hand. Like Schwartz, Rodimer has placed a substantial amount in candidate loans into his 2020 bid — $100,000 in the fourth quarter and $165,000 through the entire election cycle so far. 

Rodimer also proved to be the biggest spender in District 3 in the fourth quarter, doling out more than $168,000 and even outspending Lee by a margin of about $20,000. Much like the other candidates, a majority of that money was spent on various kinds of political consulting, with $95,000 spread across eight different consulting firms. 

Unlike his opponents, however, Rodimer has already begun to spend thousands on advertising, including more than $20,000 in media placement fees to South Carolina firm Point1 (of which ex-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is a partner) and another $9,000 in fees to Silver State Radio, which operates two music stations in Las Vegas. 

Another Republican candidate, Corwin “Cory” Newberry, has yet to file campaign finance documents with the FEC. Two other Republicans, Tiger Helgelien and Zach WalkerLieb, as well as an independent candidate, Alex Pereszlenyi, have dropped out of the race. 

District 4

Democratic incumbent Steven Horsford raised more than $455,000 for his reelection bid in the fourth quarter, putting his yearly total at more than $1.5 million and leaving just over $1 million cash on hand. His war chest is larger than all but Lee’s, and it leaves him far ahead of his Republican rivals in the fundraising race, who together combine for just $674,000 cash on hand. 

Of Horsford’s fourth-quarter fundraising, a little more than half ($217,000) came from PACs, while $210,000 came from individuals and another $27,500 came from Democratically-aligned committee transfers. Among Horsford’s notable donors are Cosmopolitan CEO William McBeath ($5,600), Jonathan Gray, president of the real estate group Blackstone ($2,800), and MGM Resorts President William Hornbuckle ($2,800).

The nature of the dozens of PACs that gave to Horsford ranged widely, from corporate PACs linked to WalMart ($3,000) or NV Energy ($2,500) to political or policy-based PACs like the House LGBTQ caucus-linked Equality PAC ($7,500) and Planned Parenthood Action Fund ($1,000). 

Of Horsford’s near-$180,000 in money spent, a little less than half of it, $71,000, went to consultants and pollsters, including $29,000 for an internal poll in October. Nearly all of the remainder went to operating expenses, from Lyfts and Ubers to email hosting to event catering. 

Among the seven Republicans still looking for the chance to take on Horsford in November, former Assemblyman Jim Marchant ended the quarter on top, raising $156,000 for the quarter and $333,000 on the year, leaving his campaign with just over $209,000 cash on hand. 

After losing his seat in the Assembly in 2018, Marchant has sought to cast himself as fully in-line with the Republican party’s right wing, even gaining the endorsement last week of Freedom Caucus regular Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona. 

But only about $56,000 of Marchant’s fundraising came through individual donors, including a maximum contribution from New York investor Edward Bramson. Filling out the rest of the quarterly total was a last-minute $100,000 candidate loan, tripling his total and bringing his total loans on the year to $110,000. 

Of the $39,000 Marchant spent, the largest single chunk went to consulting firm McShane LLC ($15,000), with much of the rest going to operating expenses. 

Marchant was followed by veteran and insurance salesman Sam Peters, who raised more than $145,000 for the quarter, marking his 2019 total at more than $283,000 and leaving nearly $206,000 cash on hand. But like Marchant, Peters buoyed his receipts with a last-minute $79,550 loan on Dec. 31, the last day before the fundraising period ended. That loan also raises his total loans on the year to more than $157,000. 

Peters’ biggest donors were largely retirees, including at least one retired Navy captain and six others who gave the $2,800 maximum. In terms of spending, roughly two-thirds of Peters’ budget ($21,000 of $32,000 spent overall) went to advertising, including signs, radio and Facebook ads.    

Though third among Republicans in raw fundraising totals, former Miss Nevada and local business owner Lisa Song Sutton led Republicans in individual contributions for the second quarter in a row, raising more than $130,000 in the fourth quarter and $258,000 through the year. 

With $187,000 left in the war chest, the Song Sutton campaign has touted itself as the only Republican campaign with five-figures of cash on hand and no outstanding debt, with Song Sutton herself having so far given no loans to her campaign. A lack of loans hasn’t meant a lack of contributions, however, as Song Sutton did contribute $15,000 to her campaign in the fourth quarter and $35,000 through 2019. 

Though federal law limits individual contributions to $2,800, any money spent by a candidate on their own campaign is considered “personal funds,” and those funds are not subject to limits so long as they are reported. 

Song Sutton received 20 maximum contributions, including donations from Texas-based attorney Sonny Patel ($5,600) and UFC fighter Cory Hendricks ($2,800). And of $42,000 in spending, the largest chunk once again went to consulting and advertising (nearly $26.000), including $19,000 for Texas-based firm Amplify Relations. 

Among the remaining Republicans, none broke the $100,000 mark for the quarter. Business owner Randi Reed came closest with $57,940 for the fourth quarter, $105,000 for the year and $33,000 cash on hand, while veteran Charles Navarro, who raised $107,000 through 2019 — largely on the back of a $75,000 loan from the third quarter — brought in just $9,500 in the fourth quarter, all while spending more than $53,000. 

Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo raised the least of any candidate, just $1,500 for the quarter, $46,000 for the year and leaving $5,000 cash on hand. It was a quarterly haul even below that of nurse Catherine Prato, who dropped out of the race this month after raising just over $4,200. 

Another late entry to the Republican race, Leo Dunson, has yet to file any financial documentation with the FEC. 

District 2

Incumbent Republican Mark Amodei brought in a modest $144,000 in the fourth quarter, bumping his total for the year to near-$456,000 and leaving his reelection effort with just over $333,500 in the bank. 

Amodei’s fundraising was largely split evenly three ways between individual donors ($52,000), PACs ($43,000) and committee transfers ($49,000). Among individuals and PACs, notable donors include Monarch Casino and Resorts President Bahram Farahi ($1,000), Retail Association of Nevada Executive Director Mary Lau ($800) and several PACs linked to Boeing ($3,500) and military contractors Northrop Grumman ($2,500) and Lockheed Martin ($2,000).

Amodei’s increased fourth-quarter fundraising was not enough, however, to push his campaign into the black for 2019. Though spending just $57,000 in the last three months of the year, Amodei spent just over $470,000 over the course of the year, dipping into his cash reserves by a margin of roughly $15,000. 

Of that $57,000, much of it went to consulting and accounting fees ($26,000), with the rest falling to a mix of operational expenses such as gas mileage or catering. 

Other candidates in District 2 include two Democrats, Clint Koble and Patricia Ackerman, though neither managed to raise more than $100,000 on the year. Koble came closest, raising $28,000 for the quarter and nearly $75,000 for the year, but consistent spending has left Koble with only $4,500 cash on hand. 

Ackerman, who only entered the race in November, reported raising more than $15,000, including a $5,000 candidate loan. Much of that money went back into operating expenditures, however, and Ackerman enters 2020 with just over $4,000 cash on hand. 

Two other candidates, Democrat Edward Cohen and Republican Jesse Douglas Hurley, did not report raising any funds in 2019. 

District 1

Arguably the safest member of Nevada’s House delegation — more than 48 percent of voters in District 1 are registered Democrats, compared to just 21 percent registered Republican — incumbent Democrat Dina Titus reported raising more than $125,000 for the quarter, lifting her yearly total to nearly $443,000 and leaving $341,000 cash on hand. 

Titus’ fundraising was roughly split evenly between individual contributions ($63,000) and PACs ($62,500), with notable donors including lobbyist Jay Brown ($2,800), filmmaker Robin Greenspun ($2,800) and PACs linked to Newmont Mining ($2,500), AT&T ($2,000) and Amazon ($1,500). Titus also received a handful of $5,000 from several unions, including Laborers International and the Transport Workers Union. 

Of the $58,000 Titus spent, more than half went to transfers to other Democratic campaign committees, including $30,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and another $2,500 to the state Democratic Party. Of the remainder, $6,700 went to Wisconsin-based consultant Run The World Digital, with the rest going to operating expenditures such as food, payroll and travel. 

Titus’ only challenger, Republican Citlaly Larios-Elias, reported raising $305 for the quarter, including a $100 donation from the candidate. Larios-Elias reported spending just 50 cents, though no more detailed information was available through the campaign’s FEC filing. 

Sisolak campaign raises $1.6 million in 2019, has $2.3 million in cash more than three years before next election

Gov. Steve Sisolak raised more than $1.6 million and substantially padded his campaign war chest during the first year of his term, giving the state’s first Democratic governor in 20 years a significant financial advantage ahead of an expected re-election campaign in 2022.

Sisolak’s Contributions and Expenses report was released on Wednesday and shows the governor’s campaign spent $164,000 throughout the year while pushing his cash on hand total to more than $2.3 million. The report covers all contributions and expenses in 2019.

Almost all of the funds raised came after the close of the 120-day legislative session, owing to a state law that prohibits the governor, lieutenant governor and members of the Legislature from accepting campaign contributions during and immediately before and after the body is in session.

“That level of support shows a wide cross-section of Nevadans appreciate that the Governor fought for better schools, great jobs and affordable, accessible healthcare,” Sisolak finance director Eva Black said in a statement. “People are responding in unprecedented fashion to the governor’s agenda of enhanced opportunity for all Nevadans.”

In addition to his campaign account, two political action committees affiliated with Sisolak reported raising another $1.7 million throughout 2019. The Sisolak Inaugural Committee, which funded inauguration events for the new governor, raised more than $1.5 million throughout the year, and the Homes Means Nevada PAC (which has run ads supporting the governor on TV and online) raised another $947,000 (which includes a $686,000 transfer from the inaugural PAC).

Sisolak’s total contributions tops the figures reported by Nevada’s past governors over the first year of their term; former Gov. Jim Gibbons reported raising $110,200 after his first year in office, and former Gov. Brian Sandoval’s campaign raised nearly $673,000 during his first year.

It also highlights the wide variety of business and other interests that have sought to influence or win favor with the state’s new governor, including casino companies, mining corporations, developers, Las Vegas-based businesses and labor unions. Most of the donations came from big-money donors; only $1,458 was raised by individuals giving $100 or less, while the campaign received 81 contributions of $10,000, the largest allowable amount.

The largest individual source of contributions came from Las Vegas contractor and developer Steve Menzies, who directly and through nine affiliated business entities contributed $100,000 to Sisolak’s campaign. He also received maximum contributions from a pair of donors mostly linked to Republican political efforts; South Point casino owner Michael Gaughan and Treasure Island Casino owner Phil Ruffin, a business partner with President Donald Trump.

Notable individuals who gave maximum contributions to Sisolak’s campaign include former Diamond Resorts CEO and Democratic Party megadonor Stephen Cloobeck, former Congressman and lobbyist Jon Porter, longtime Sisolak confidant and lobbyist Jay Brown, prominent criminal defense attorney David Chesnoff and wife Diane, and lobbyist Alisa Nave-Worth. 

Many well-known businesses also made maximum contributions to the campaign, including $10,000 each from mining giants Barrick Gold and Newmont, $30,000 from entities associated with M Resort President Anthony Marnell, and a maximum contribution from pharmaceutical industry lobbying group PhRMA.

Sisolak raised more than $11.1 million for his gubernatorial bid through 2017 and 2018, a larger total than the amount raised by his general election opponent, former Attorney General Adam Laxalt. 

Political contributions to state candidates are capped at $10,000 per election cycle ($5,000 each for primary and general elections), but donors can easily circumnavigate those limits through making contributions through multiple business entities or through political action committees.

Top contributors to Sisolak's campaign account include the following:

  • $100,000 total from entities related to Las Vegas contractor and developer Steve Menzies; Focus Concrete, Focus Electric, Focus Fire Protection, Focus Framing, Focus Plumbing LLC, GTI General Account, HB Commercial Holdings LLC Steve Menzies, PostRoad LLC and Seashore Holdings LLC ($10,000 from each entity)
  • $30,000 from entities associated with Anthony Marnell; Benny’s Holdco LLC, Anthony Marnell and Marnell Gaming
  • $20,000 total from Treasure Island Hotel and Casino owner Phil Ruffin and his wife, Oleksandra
  • $20,000 from long-time Sisolak confidante and lobbyist Jay Brown
  • $20,00 from Diana and David Chesnoff, a prominent criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas
  • $12,500 from political action committees funded by the Laborers Local 872 union; $2,500 each from 872 PAC, DNC PAC, G.O.P PAC, Laborers’ for Solid State Leadership and Nevada Progressives United PAC
  • $10,000 from The Cosmopolitan
  • $10,000 from Steelman Partners, an international architectural design firm based in Southern Nevada
  • $11,000 from Wildcat Properties and Power House Plastering, Inc.
  • $10,000 from former Diamond Resorts CEO Stephen Cloobeck
  • $20,000 from South Point Las Vegas owner Michael Gauchan and the casino itself ($10,000 from each)
  • $10,000 from F&M Advertising
  • $10,000 from Centennial Hills Animal Hospital
  • $10,000 from Jayana Dils, a retired nurse from Las Vegas
  • $10,000 from Home Building Industry PAC
  • $10,000 from James Nave, a prominent southern Nevada veterinarian and owner of Centennial Hills Animal Hospital
  • $10,000 from lobbyist Alisa Nave-Worth
  • $10,000 from South Valley Animal Hospital
  • $10,000 from attorney James Awad
  • $10,000 from the trust of Fennemore Craig attorney Samuel Lionel
  • $10,000 from Nevada Heart & Vascular LLP
  • $10,000 from The D operator and owner Derek Stevens
  • $10,000 from Konami Gaming
  • $10,000 from Lee’s Discount Liquor
  • $10,000 from former casino operator Jack Binion
  • $10,000 from David Ducommun, an executive with Cannae Holdings, Inc
  • $10,000 from the campaign account of former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid
  • $10,000 from Richard Massey, a former bank executive who lives in Little Rock, Ark. 
  • $10,000 from Resorts World, Las Vegas
  • $10,000 from Terrance Kwiatkowski, a doctor in Las Vegas
  • $10,000 from Lawrence Canarelli, a developer in Las Vegas
  • $10,000 from Coyote Springs Investment LLC
  • $10,000 from casino developer Gary Primm
  • $10,000 from Red Hawk Land Company
  • $10,000 from Village Pub Management LLC
  • $10,000 from International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12
  • $10,000 from Union City Partners, LLC
  • $10,000 from Peter Palivos, an attorney and businessman in Las Vegas
  • $10,000 from Caesar’s Enterprise Services
  • $10,000 from health insurance giant Centene Management Company
  • $10,000 from personal injury law firm Eglet Prince
  • $10,000 from Marshall Retail Group, a specialty retailer focusing on airports and casinos
  • $10,000 from the Peppermill Casino
  • $10,000 from Warren Volker, founder and CEO of WellHealth Quality Care
  • $10,000 from Ernest Lee, a land developer in Las Vegas
  • $10,000 from Ainsworth Game Technology
  • $10,000 from Barrick Gold
  • $10,000 from the law firm of Bradley, Drendel & Jeanney
  • $10,000 from Cortez Gold Mine
  • $10,000 from Republic Services
  • $10,000 from Eric Kurtzman, an attorney in Las Vegas
  • $10,000 from Rudolph Family Trust
  • $10,000 from Judith Siegel, an executive with Las Vegas-based real estate firm The Siegel Group
  • $10,000 from Switch
  • $10,000 from BPS Management Services
  • $10,000 from Linda Schimberg
  • $10,000 from Todd Marshall, the former CEO and a board member at Marshall Retail Group
  • $10,000 from Mohave Dermatology
  • $10,000 from Reshma Shah
  • $10,000 from PhRMA
  • $10,000 from Sunrise Health Care System
  • $10,000 from Southern Highlands Investment Partners
  • $10,000 from Las Vegas Paving Corporation
  • $10,000 from Newmont Ventures Limited
  • $10,000 from former Nevada Rep. John Porter
  • $10,000 from Southwest Gas Company
  • $10,000 from Thomas Dolan, founder of Dolan Auto Group in Reno
  • $10,000 from Westar Development Corp.

Updated at 3:56 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2020 to include more details on Sisolak's fundraising with affiliated PACs.

Biden brings in biggest total from itemized donors in Nevada, Sanders pockets most individual donations

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaking during a campaign event

Democratic presidential hopefuls pocketed more than half a million dollars in itemized contributions from Nevadans in the third quarter of the year as they prepare for a final push ahead of the early nominating contests in February.

Former Vice President Joe Biden raised the largest total sum, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders received the most individual itemized donations, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week. Other candidates who raised significant sums from Nevadans include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Federal campaign finance reports only list itemized contributions — those that are more than $200 or, when combined with other contributions over the election cycle, exceed $200 — meaning that the analysis does not take into consideration smaller sums that the candidates may have raised from Nevadans. For instance, Sanders’ campaign said that they received more than 30,000 individual donations, both itemized and not, from nearly 10,000 Nevadans, but other campaigns were not able to readily share similar data with The Nevada Independent.

The campaign finance reports hint at the kind of support the campaigns have here on the ground in Nevada, with Biden raising significant sums from well-known casino executives and former elected officials while Sanders and Warren tended to bring in generally smaller amounts from everyday donors. They also reveal how candidates may or may not be gaining traction here: Self-help author Marianne Williamson has been to Nevada eight times since launching her campaign and raised about $15,000 here this quarter, while former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who has been here 10 times, only raised $2,800.

Some in Nevada also aren’t willing to choose a side yet. The reports show that Democratic donor Stephen Cloobeck donated the maximum $2,800 primary contribution to four candidates — Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — and $1,000 to Buttigieg, while former Regent Jill Derby has spread $4,660 among seven Democratic hopefuls.

At the same time, the sums they are raising individually are dwarfed by what President Donald Trump raised in the state in the third quarter — about $320,000 across roughly 5,000 individual donations.

Below, The Nevada Independent takes a look at which corners of the state the candidates are raising the most from and breaks down each individual candidate’s Nevada donations.

Joe Biden

The former vice president brought in the biggest haul of any Democratic presidential hopeful — about $206,000 once refunds were taken into account — from itemized donors in Nevada in the third quarter. He was the fifth top fundraiser overall among the Democratic field this quarter, bringing in $15.7 million in donations.

His list of Nevada donors this quarter includes many of the who’s who in Las Vegas, from gaming executives to members of prominent families, and is largely made up of big money donors, with $191,902 of his total coming from contributions of $1,000 or more.

Two of his biggest contributions came from Bob Boughner, who sits on the board of directors for Boyd Gaming and donated $5,600 to Biden’s campaign, and UNLV President Marta Meana, who contributed $5,000. 

He received the maximum $2,800 contribution to a primary campaign from several notable Nevadans, including MGM Resorts Chief Hospitality Officer Ari Kastrati; Diana Bennet, co-founder of Paragon Gaming, Dr. Larry Lehrner, a nephrologist and husband of former Rep. Shelley Berkley; Marilynn Mack, daughter of the late real estate investor Jerry Mack; Amy Greenspun Arenson, daughter of Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun; and Billy Vassiliadis, CEO of R&R Partners.

Other notable contributions: Biden received a $500 sum from Tina Quigley, the head of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, and several installments totaling $500 from former Rep. James Bilbray and his wife, Michaelene Bilbray.

Both Bilbray and Berkley have endorsed Biden in his presidential bid.

In total, Biden received about 570 individual itemized contributions in Nevada.

Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator raised the second most among the Democratic field in Nevada, about $104,000 after refunds, but had the most individual itemized donations. Still, the 2,900 individual itemized donations Sanders received is eclipsed by the 30,000 total individual donations — including unitemized donations — his campaign says he received in the Silver State.

Sanders was technically the second highest fundraiser this quarter nationally, at $28 million, but only behind billionaire Tom Steyer who spent $47.6 million of his own money on his campaign this quarter for a total of $49.6 million raised. 

There are a lot fewer familiar names on Sanders’ list of Nevada donors, which includes a maintenance worker at Walmart, a bartender at Caesars Palace and a busser at the Cosmopolitan. (It also includes lawyers, nurses, dentists, and teachers, among others.)

His top donations this quarter came from Levi Blaney, an engineer at the tech company Flux7 ($2,000) and investment banker Pranav Merchant ($1,694). He also received nine $1,000 donations from some doctors, a medical social worker and an accountant. One notable donor — health care advocate and former congressional candidate Amy Vilela, who has endorsed Sanders, contributed $1,449.38

Elizabeth Warren

The Massachusetts senator raised far less in itemized contributions from Nevadans than either Biden or Sanders, bringing in a total of about $48,000 in the third quarter over nearly 650 individual donations. She was the third top Democratic fundraiser overall this quarter, raising $24.7 million.

Like Sanders, Warren has sworn off high-dollar fundraisers in exchange for spending more time on the selfie line after her rallies. As such, her list is also filled with many unfamiliar names and small dollar donations.

Her top contributions include $2,500 from Dr. Osama Haikal, a gastroenterologist, $1,500 from a retiree named Carson Miller, and $1,300 from Reno-based MS advocate Vivian Leal. Her top donors also include several UNLV professors, lawyers and consultants. Only five of her donations were sums of $1,000 or more.

Two interesting donors — Assemblywoman Connie Munk, who has not yet endorsed in the race but donated $525 to Warren’s campaign this quarter in small installments, and Clark County Democratic Party Chair Donna West donated $85.03. (Munk also donated $160 to Booker’s campaign.)

Pete Buttigieg

The South Bend Mayor brought in the fourth biggest haul in itemized donations from Nevadans this quarter at about $35,000 after refunds through a little more than 500 individual donations. He received nine $1,000 contributions, including from Cloobeck, a physician assistant, a lawyer and a broadband planner. He also received $500 from Patrick Duffy, president and CEO of Nevada School of the Arts.

He was the fourth top Democratic fundraiser overall, raising $19.2 million over the quarter.

Andrew Yang

This tech entrepreneur who has slowly inched up in the polls over the last few months raised the fifth most in itemized donations from Nevadans, totaling about $27,000 after refunds. Yang’s top contributors include several professional gamblers and poker players, consultants and a cocktail server at the Bellagio.

He raised $9.9 million overall this quarter.

Kamala Harris

The California senator came in just shy of Yang’s total itemized donations in Nevada by $13.70 after accounting for refunds, placing her at the sixth highest for itemized contributions in the state. Like Yang, she also raised just about $27,000, but came out ahead of the tech entrepreneur in total fundraising nationally this quarter at $11.8 million.

Her top donor was Cloobeck, but she received several $1,000 sums including from a nurse, a lawyer and an environmental biologist.

Marianne Williamson

The self-help author, who didn’t qualify for the October debate stage, actually managed to raise the seventh most in itemized donations from Nevadans in the third quarter at about $14,000 after refunds. Her top donor in Nevada was Aileen Getty, a philanthropist and the granddaughter of J. Paul Getty, who donated $2,500 tied to an address at a Reno office park associated with her foundation. Other contributors include two atmospheric scientists, an ecclesiastical assistant and a yoga instructor.

Others who made the debate stage

Several other Democratic hopefuls who raised enough money and scored high enough in the polls to qualify for the October debate stage raised far smaller sums. Klobuchar and Booker each brought in a little north of $10,000, while former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised just a little less than that sum.

Two notable Klobuchar donors — Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun and his wife, Myra Greenspun, who collectively donated $3,800. His sister-in-law, Robin Greenspun, donated $500 to Booker.

Dan Lee, CEO of Full House Resorts and husband of Rep. Susie Lee, donated $275 to O’Rourke.

Steyer raised a little less than $6,000 in the state, while Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard raised about $4,500 and Castro raised just a little less than $2,800 after refunds.

Bottom of the pack

Two candidates who didn’t qualify for the debate stage outraised Castro, who did. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet raised about $4,800 from just seven donors in the state, while Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan raised about $4,300 — with almost all of that coming from three employees affiliated with singer and songwriter Jewel and her company, Jewel Inc.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock raised about $2,700, while former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak raised about $1,500 and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney raised $290. 

Indy 2020: Candidates flock to Las Vegas for gun forum; Warren places seven-figure pre-caucus ad buy

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Your Nevada 2020 election newsletter. Please read, forward and subscribe.

Good morning, and welcome to Indy 2020, a biweekly newsletter focused on the 2020 presidential election in Nevada. A reminder that email subscribers get early access to this newsletter, so be sure to subscribe and tell your friends. It’ll be peachy.

The top 10 Democratic presidential contenders are preparing to return to Las Vegas on Wednesday for a presidential gun safety forum sponsored by the advocacy groups Giffords and March for Our Lives and hosted by MSNBC. It’ll be a somber occasion: Today is the two-year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, which killed 58 and injured more than 800. While in town, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will meet with nurses and first responders at UMC — the only Level 1 trauma center in the state — and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will host a conversation on everyday gun violence with students. 

Not all events will be just focused on guns, though. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will attend a town hall on medical debt, Medicare-for-all and Social Security, and former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will host dueling rallies at the same time Wednesday night in Reno and Carson City, respectively. As always, the Indy will be there covering it all, so keep checking the website for updates.

Please reach out to me with any tips, story ideas, comments, suggestions, and your favorite xkcd comic at

Without further ado, a download of the recent 2020 happenings in Nevada.


Warren places seven-figure ad buy in Las Vegas: The Massachusetts senator has dropped nearly $1.2 million to reserve pre-caucus airtime in Las Vegas and Reno, according to an unaffiliated Democratic operative tracking the ad buy. ($864,000 of that is in Las Vegas, according to recently filed reports with the Federal Communications Commission.)

The buy — which runs from Jan. 27 to Caucus Day, Feb. 22. — comes as part of an overall $10 million-plus ad buy in early states announced by Warren’s campaign last week. (Thanks to my eagle-eyed colleague Riley Snyder for flagging that the FCC reports posted.)

Polls, polls, polls: A CNN poll over the weekend puts Biden and Sanders neck-and-neck in Nevada at 22 percent each, and Warren just behind them within the margin of error at 18 percent. Harris trails at 5 percent, with Buttigieg and billionaire Tom Steyer each at 4 percent. A Suffolk/RGJ survey from last week had only slightly different results, with Biden at 23 percent, Warren at 19 percent, Sanders at 14 percent, and Harris a distant 4 percent.

There’s a slight shuffling among the top three contenders, but what’s becoming clear is this: Support is consolidating around Biden, Warren and Sanders, which will only make it increasingly more difficult for Harris, Buttigieg or any of the lower-tier candidates to gain ground not just in the Silver State but nationwide — even with robust campaign operations.

The blue firewall in Clark County grows: Statewide voter registration totals for September will post soon here, but numbers out of Clark County show that Democrats have a 134,000-person lead over Republicans, and nonpartisans and other third-party registrants are only behind the GOP by a little less than 4,000. We’ll see how the new statewide totals shake out, but by the end of August, Democrats had a 73,392-person, or 4.6 percentage point, lead over Republicans statewide.

For comparison, Democrats had a 5.1 percentage point advantage over Republicans when the red wave of 2014 swept the state — and many Democrats didn’t turn out to the polls. During the blue waves of 2016 and 2018, Democrats had a 6.1 percentage point and a 4.8 percentage point lead over Republicans, respectively. The tl;dr — voter registration numbers matter, but you also have to get those voters to the polls.

Our freelancer Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez also took a look at efforts on the ground to register historically underrepresented groups on National Voter Registration Day.

Biden on impeachment: Biden returned to Las Vegas on Friday and attended his first public event since the House launched its impeachment inquiry. At the event, Biden said that President Donald Trump violated his oath of office, put at risk national security and “abused” the power of the presidency and taxpayer dollars. Biden said it was  “not surprising” that he had become “the object of [Trump’s] attention” but that his job is to “make sure above all else we beat Donald Trump.” He also attended an evening fundraiser with businesswoman Heather Murren, who is also the wife of MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren, and Democratic donor Stephen Cloobeck. Read more here.

Harris hosts tele-town hall: Harris hosted a Nevada-specific tele-town hall last week where she said that the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump would be a “full and righteous airing” of what she described as the “corruption and misdeeds” of the president and his administration. More from me here.

Mayor Pete goes north: Buttigieg met with housing advocates, joined a picket with striking members of the United Auto Workers Union and held a rally over the weekend during his first visit to Northern Nevada since launching his presidential campaign. Buttigieg’s team has been quickly ramping up its operations in Nevada, and he became the first candidate to file paperwork to participate in Nevada’s Democratic caucuses at the Nevada State Democratic Party’s Keep Nevada Blue dinner this weekend. Indytern Mark Hernandez covered it all.

Steyer was also in Reno for the Democratic party dinner. He hosted a town hall and met with UAW members on strike while in town as well. Self-help author Marianne Williamson did not attend the dinner but was in Las Vegas last week, speaking at an event on keeping children safe with actor Richard Dreyfuss and meeting with voters at two yoga centers.

Booker on Desert National Wildlife Refuge: Following in the footsteps of Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker came out in opposition to a proposed military expansion into the Desert National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas on Public Lands Day, Sept. 28. The military’s proposal would remove nearly 300,000 acres from the largest wildlife refuge in the contiguous United States. “We owe it to future generations to balance the needs of military readiness and conservation to respect and protect the cultural heritage and wildlife on these public lands. I believe all stakeholders, including tribal nations, should be consulted in any plans for the refuge," Booker said in a statement. (The announcement came even as Gov. Steve Sisolak declined over the weekend to take a firm position on the issue.)

Endorsement tracker coming soon: You’ve gotten to know and love our candidate tracker — and soon the Indy will be launching a presidential endorsement tracker. Keep an eye out in the next week or so for its launch.


Staffing changes and office openings

  • Buttigieg’s team has now hired 35 staff members in Nevada and plans to have 10 offices open by the middle of this month, including in Carson City, Fallon and Pahrump. The South Bend mayor has also brought on Travis Brock, former executive director of the Nevada State Democratic Party, as his national caucus director and Juan Carlos Perez as national Latinx engagement director.
  • Harris’s campaign hosted a Reno office opening on Sept. 19 attended by Washoe County Recorder Kalie Work, who is backing the California senator for president. Her team also put on a number of events for Hispanic Heritage Month.
  • Warren will be opening three offices this month in Carson City, Elko and Southwest Las Vegas.
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro brought on Megan Macias, who was previously an intern for the campaign, as regional organizing director.
  • Former tech executive Andrew Yang has opened his first office in Las Vegas and will soon open one in Reno. His campaign also says it has plans to expand its Nevada team this month.

Early endorsements

  • Former Gov. Bob Miller and Reno City Councilman Oscar Delgado endorsed Biden for president.
  • Wells Mayor Layla Walz endorsed Buttigieg, as did dozens mayors across the country.
  • Former North Las Vegas City Councilman Theron Goynes and retired educator Naomi Goynes endorsed Booker.
  • Castro received five community member endorsements.

Upcoming visits

  • The Giffords and March for Our Lives presidential gun safety forum hosted by MSNBC is happening on Wednesday. Ten candidates will be in town for the forum — Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sanders, Warren and Yang — and also attend a bunch of ancillary events scheduled around the forum on Wednesday and Thursday. Check out our 2020 Candidate Tracker for the full details.
  • Warren will return to Las Vegas to march in the Las Vegas Pride Parade on Oct. 11.
  • Buttigieg will keynote Battle Born Progress’s annual Celebrate Progress event on Oct. 22.
  • Castro will speak at the People’s Forum on Oct. 26 at the East Las Vegas Community Center.

Surrogate stops

  • Amy O’Rourke, wife of Beto O’Rourke, made her first solo trip to Nevada, hosting a conversation on gun safety with Moms Demand Action and the National Organization for Women and meeting with members of the Latin Chamber of Commerce’s Professional Mujeres Group.
  • Rep. Ro Khanna campaigned on behalf of Sanders in Reno over the weekend. He joined a canvass launch and spoke at the Nevada State Democratic Party’s Keep Nevada Blue dinner.
  • Carolyn Booker, mother of Cory Booker, was also in Reno for the Democratic party dinner over the weekend. She attended a canvass launch, a Washoe Dems meet-and-greet and a community breakfast while in town.
  • Douglas Emhoff, Harris’s husband, was at a Truckee Meadows river cleanup, a lunch with UNR students and a phone bank in Reno over the weekend. He also stopped by the Democratic party dinner.
  • Maya Rupert, Castro’s campaign manager, toured a resource center for homeless youth, opened a Reno campaign office and attended a “Women of Color” coffee before attending the Democratic party dinner Saturday night.
  • Rep. Barbara Lee was in Southern Nevada for Harris over the weekend, launching a phone bank kick off, meeting with women leaders, and attending a canvass kick off. Rep. Ruben Gallego, Harris campaign manager Juan Rodriguez and labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta are all slated to travel to Nevada on Harris’s behalf later this month.

Other election news

  • Biden’s campaign is co-hosting a “Vegas Strong” blood drive in partnership with IBEW Local 396 on Wednesday.
  • Several Nevadans who have not yet endorsed for president — including Attorney General Aaron Ford, DNC Committeeman Alex Goff, and two assemblywomen — took to Twitter to make their pitches for why Booker should remain in the presidential race and urged people to donate to help him reach his $1.7 million fundraising goal by the end of the month. Booker announced on Monday that he has met his goal and will stay in the race.
  • DNC Chair Tom Perez attended a Spanish-language caucus training with Rep. Dina Titus and Nevada State Democratic Party Chair Will McCurdy on Monday at Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 525.


Navy veteran, ex-congressional staffer formally launches CD4 bid: Charles Navarro launched his bid for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District Thursday, joining a widening field of Republican hopefuls looking to flip the seat red in 2020. My colleague Jacob Solis has more.


  • Housing troubles seep into 2020 campaign (AP)
  • In Las Vegas, Joe Biden’s sister dismisses calls to impeach Kavanaugh (CBS News)
  • Las Vegas police investigate a break-in at GOP headquarters (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Updated 10-1-19 at 8:21 a.m. to correct that Castro campaign manager Maya Rupert did not attend a United Auto Workers picket as planned on Sept. 28.