- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Political newcomer Susie Lee has an early fundraising lead in the four-way Democratic primary for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District seat.

Lee, a Las Vegas philanthropist, and the other contenders are vying for the post held by first-term Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy.

The district includes North Las Vegas and parts of rural Nevada and leans Democratic. It is considered a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats during a presidential election year.

Federal candidates must submit campaign finance disclosure reports by Wednesday that detail fundraising through June 30. Here are highlights from the reports:

SUSIE LEE

Lee’s campaign said she’s raised $330,260 since announcing her candidacy in late May. She has a total of $327,000 cash on hand.

In addition to $280,260 in contributions between May 28 and June 30, Lee loaned herself $50,000. Her major donors include casino executives, philanthropists and members of the Nevada Board of Education, including president Elaine Wynn.

“I’m so gratified by the number of people who are rallying behind my campaign, and this is just the beginning,” she said.

Lee has served as president of the nonprofit Communities in Schools of Nevada since 2010. She says improving education and creating jobs would be among her top priorities in Congress.

RUBEN KIHUEN

Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen said he’s raised $214,000 since announcing his bid for Congress in late March. He said $190,000 of that came in June after the legislative session ended.

Kihuen reported that 86 percent of the funds came from people within Nevada. His major donors include Las Vegas doctors and lawyers, and the campaign committees of fellow legislators including state Sen. Mo Denis.

“I have spent my career fighting to ensure everyone has a fair shot at the American dream and I am proud my campaign is funded by Nevadans, not special interests,” he said.

Kihuen has served in the Legislature since 2006, with terms in the Assembly and Senate. He’s received the endorsement of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and has garnered praise from longtime U.S. Sen. Harry Reid.

LUCY FLORES

Lucy Flores, a former two-term Nevada assemblywoman, reported raising $106,021 from more than 400 donors since announcing a run for Congress in late April. Her campaign said she has $76,523 cash on hand.

Her major contributors include actress Eva Longoria, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and the campaign committees of California lawmakers.

The Democrat has endorsements from former Nevada Controller Kim Wallin, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and several congressional Democrats.

Flores’ campaigns have highlighted her hardscrabble past and journey from gang member to attorney and elected official. She lost a race for lieutenant governor in 2014 to Republican former state Sen. Mark Hutchison.

JOHN OCEGUERA

Former Nevada Assembly Speaker John Oceguera did not report campaign contributions because he announced his bid for Congress on July 9, after the close of the most recent reporting period.

Oceguera, a Democrat, served in the Legislature for 12 years and held the speaker post in 2011. He is a former firefighter with the North Las Vegas fire department.

“Serving Nevada families has not only been my career, it’s my passion,” Oceguera said in a press release after his announcement. “And, it’s why I know I can do a better job in Congress than Cresent Hardy.”

CRESENT HARDY

Incumbent Republican Cresent Hardy raised $194,040 in the latest reporting period and has $417,011 cash on hand.

He took office after upsetting former Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford in the 2014 election.

His major contributors include Nevada construction industry and car dealership executives, and PACs for companies such as Barrick Gold, NV Energy and Koch Industries.

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