GOP already moving to protect Hardy’s seat

WASHINGTON — Senior Republicans and business leaders in Las Vegas are helping Rep. Cresent Hardy build a firewall as he prepares to defend his newly won seat in Congress.

The freshman Republican from Mesquite raised $292,250 during the first three months of the year, according to newly released records from the Federal Election Commission. Counting carryover money from late last year, Hardy counted $306,549 in his bank account.

Hardy, 57, received a boost from an array of top Republicans, a sign that the party is invested in keeping the 4th Congressional District — a surprise pickup in November’s elections — in GOP hands. The district includes all of Nye County.

“This was a big takeaway for them, and they want to keep it that way,” said Mark Peplowski, political science professor at the College of Southern Nevada, adding that Hardy’s haul “is a strong number for his first quarter in office.”

Peplowski said early donations by party leaders serve to “prime the pump. It shows people, ‘We are going to put lots of money in this race and we want everybody else to do likewise.’”

Among Republican donors: Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada ($10,000); House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio ($17,000); House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California ($14,000); House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana ($9,500); and presidential candidate Jeb Bush ($5,400).

Hardy also collected $165,400 from political action committees, about 56 percent of his total fundraising. His PAC contributors included Barrick Gold Corp. ($7,500), and Koch Industries ($5,000).

Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen has said he plans to run for the seat in the district that includes North Las Vegas and the northern segment of Clark County, part of Lyon County and all of Esmeralda, Lincoln, Mineral, Nye and White Pine counties.