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Oscarson collects $28,000 in campaign contributions

Nevada Assemblyman James Oscarson, R-Pahrump, is unopposed, but he still reported $28,110.99 in campaign contributions by the end of the first reporting period May 20.

The first-term assemblyman also lists $17,295.21 in expenses.

Oscarson said many of the contributions were made before the end of the filing period for the primary back in March.

“A lot of the donations came in before I knew I was unopposed. You don’t really know until the filing deadline is over with. Assuming that would’ve been the case, I wouldn’t have been unopposed,” Oscarson said.

The majority of the donations came in before March 13. State legislators routinely get sizable contributions from Nevada gaming and mining interests. Oscarson received $5,000 from Barrick Gold, $2,000 each from the Nevada Mining Association Political Action Committee and from Station Casinos; along with $1,000 donations apiece from Southwest Gas Corp., Farmers Insurance Political Action Committee (PAC), Nevada Health PAC, R&S Leasing LLC of Henderson, Barrick Mining and AT&T. He received $500 donations from B.J. Guinn at 3820 S. Oakridge Blvd., former Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, the Professional Fire Fighters Association, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Nevada Realtors PAC, McDonald Carano Wilson Governmental Affairs Group LLC, Life Guard International, Associated Builders and Contractors, Sunrise Healthcare System Good Government Fund PAC and Marigold Mining Company.

After March 13, Oscarson took in six more contributions totaling $5,250. they include $2,000 from Frias Holding Company, operators of a taxi business, $1,000 from Newmont Mining Company, $1,000 from NADEAX, $500 from Century Link, $500 from Rural Advocates based in Ely and $250 from the Billingsley Heeman Trust in Blue Diamond.

Oscarson said some of those donations may have been budgeted by those groups and companies before the filing deadline.

In the 2012 campaign for his first term, Oscarson racked up $84,967.37 in contributions and spent $66,776.22, according to records on file with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. Oscarson had a competitive Republican primary, polling 1,618 votes, or 41.34 percent, to finish ahead of Delmar Leatham, the general manager of the Overton Power District, who won 1,220 votes or 31.17 percent and Defense Intelligence Agency consultant Walt Grudzinski of Pahrump, who won 872 votes, 22.33 percent. But Oscarson had a cake walk in the general election against unknown Democrat Anthony Wernicke, polling 64.45 percent of the vote.

When it comes to expenses, Oscarson lists $7,210.50 in payments to himself, $2,200 to Val Barton of Pahrump, $700 to consultant Laura Billman and $700 to the Hafen Family Limited Partnership. He paid $500 to Frazier Furniture, $458.40 to National Pen of Detroit, $404.97 to the Legislative Counsel Bureau, $400.65 to the Pahrump Valley Winery, $367.23 to the Nye County School District, $350 to Proline Painting, $320 to the Pahrump Golf Founders Association, $275 to the Building 160 store, $250 to the Clark County Junior Livestock Association, $225.93 to Atomsplash of Reno, $203.49 to Quality Signs and Banners, $200 to KNYE radio, $200 to No to Abuse, $199.99 to Successories of Boca Raton, Fla., $190.85 to Fran’s Consignment, $182.13 to Any Computer Any Problem, $142.50 to Moapa Valley Progress, $140 to Valley Productions, $197.48 to Costco, $125 to the Pahrump Chamber, $125 to CASA and $113.32 for the Radisson in Salt Lake City.

Oscarson said he has to pay the expenses of his Pahrump office he shares with State Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka.

“We feel real comfortable doing that and providing a service for Pahrump for Assembly District 36 and Senate District 17. The state doesn’t pay for any of that,” he said.

Oscarson explained his expenses for community groups like No to Abuse and CASA.

“Those are for advertising in programs. Those are legitimate campaign contributions, they come to all the candidates for contributions. We feel it’s important to support the organizations, they’re doing a good job,” Oscarson said.

During brief remarks at campaign functions Oscarson was proud at defeating efforts at gun control in the 2013 Nevada Legislature. He told the Pahrump Valley Times his other major contribution this last session was a bill allowing county commissioners to appoint members to town boards, after lengthy delays in appointments by the governor’s office. Oscarson said he also signed on to Assembly Bill 227, which created the Nevada Public Lands Management Task Force, which is studying ways to transfer federal land to the state, a bill he called huge.

Oscarson said he truly enjoys being a state legislator, which he said is the greatest thing he’s done, aside from raising his family. He was surprised at not having an opponent, an apparent vote of confidence.

“Up until the last hour of filing I certainly thought somebody would (file). I hope people believe I’ve well represented their interests and am concerned about your issues,” Oscarson said.

For the 2015 legislative session, Oscarson wants to work on telemedicine and telehealth legislation. He is also an executive at Desert View Hospital. Oscarson also wants to continue working on public lands issues and he wants to pay close attention to budget issues.

“I want to make sure the counties we represent and the towns we represent have the resources they need to support their communities,” Oscarson said.

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