- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Republican lawmakers who supported Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $1.4 billion tax package in 2015 outraised their anti-tax Republican challengers so far this year as they head toward Nevada’s June 14 primary.

Campaign finance reports released last week, just before early voting began on Saturday, show that more moderate Republican Assembly members backed by Majority Leader Paul Anderson have outraised candidates backed by anti-tax incumbent Republican Assemblyman Brent Jones.

Here are highlights on some of the most competitive legislative primaries:

Assembly District 35

Brent Jones, who voted against the tax package and has recruited anti-tax candidates to challenge his Republican legislative colleagues who did, narrowly outraised his primary opponent this year.

Brent Jones raised $28,133 this calendar year, while Anderson-backed challenger Tiffany Jones raised $26,533.

The eventual winner will have to take on Democratic attorney Justin Watkins, who has outraised both with $91,886 this year. The district leans Democratic.

Assembly District 9

Incumbent Republican David Gardner is feeling the heat in an Assembly district with an 8 percentage-point Democratic registration advantage. He has raised $46,355 this year, but he faces well-funded primary challenges from Republican National Committeewoman Diana Orrock, who raised $23,174 this calendar year, and Minddie Lloyd, who raised $20,435.

The winner of that contest will face Steve Yeager, a lobbyist for the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, who outraised Gardner with $49,064 this year.

Assembly District 21

Incumbent Republican Derek Armstrong’s challenges start with Blain Jones, son of anti-tax Assemblyman Brent Jones. Armstrong helped shape the final tax package and raised $95,375 this year, compared with the younger Jones’ $16,970.

The winner of the primary will face a difficult general election battle in the Democratic-leaning district. Ozzie Fumo, who represented O.J. Simpson in court, has stockpiled $46,196 this year after an impressive 2015, while fellow Democrat and former Harry Reid staffer Vinny Spotleson raised $18,863 this year.

Assembly District 26

In one of the toughest Assembly primaries, Anderson-backed Republican Jason Guinasso raised $65,887 this year, keeping a relatively small lead over anti-tax candidate Lisa Krasner, who raised $51,445.

Randy Kirner is retiring from the district after beating Krasner by a handful of votes last cycle. No Democrats are running.

Assembly District 36

Republican James Oscarson, who represents a highly conservative district that includes Pahrump, was considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents after supporting Sandoval’s tax package.

But he raised $134,435 this year, far above the $8,725 raised by his best-funded primary opponent, anti-tax candidate Tina Trenner.

The winner of the primary will face Libertarian brothel owner Dennis Hof, who hasn’t reported any campaign contributions.

Assembly District 40

Incumbent Republican P.K. O’Neill, whose district includes Carson City, faces numerous primary challenges after supporting the tax package.

O’Neill raised $57,572 this year, while his best-funded primary opponent, former Carson City treasurer Al Kramer, raised $21,194. Other challengers include Sam England and Chris Forbush.

The primary winner will take on Democrat Michael Greedy and Independent American Party candidate John Wagner, who have reported little or no campaign cash.

Senate District 4

Democratic incumbent Kelvin Atkinson far outraised his primary opponent in a deeply Democratic Nevada Senate district, hauling in a whopping $175,328 this year.

That compares with the $8,090 raised this year by his opponent Stephen Harvey Munford, son of longtime Assemblyman Harvey Munford.

No Republicans are trying their hand in the district.

Senate District 6

Two well-funded Republicans are locked in a heated primary for the Las Vegas Senate district being vacated by Republican Sen. Mark Lipparelli. Former Assemblyman Erv Nelson, who supported Sandoval’s tax package, raised $95,846 this year, while Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman, who voted against the tax package, raised $65,401 this year.

The winner will face Democratic candidate Nicole Canizzaro, who doesn’t have a primary and raised $103,402 this year in hopes of winning in the Democratic-leaning district.

Senate District 15

Republican Heidi Gansert, an ex-assemblywoman and former Sandoval chief of staff, raised $111,700 this year to win the Washoe County swing district left open after Republican Sen. Greg Brower resigned. She must first navigate past anti-tax businessman Eugene Hoover, who reported raising $17,774 this year.

The winner will face Democratic attorney Devon Reese, who raised $130,241 this year.


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