North Las Vegas Mayor Lee’s re-election chances helped by big campaign donations

Three incumbents seeking re-election to the North Las Vegas City Council are outpacing their opponents in campaign contributions during the first 10 weeks of the year, according to reports filed last week with the Nevada secretary of state’s office.

Mayor John Lee raised significantly more cash than the two political newcomers trying to upset his quest for a second term.

Lee reported $116,105 in campaign contributions between Jan. 1 and March 10, reports show. In comparison, Gary Bouchard, a vocal fixture at City Council meetings, raised $300, while De’Quincy Taylor, a business consultant, collected $200.

Lee’s largest contribution was $10,000 from Mobilitie Services in Newport Beach, California. Lee also collected $5,000 apiece from the unions representing rank-and-file police officers and firefighters in North Las Vegas, the Board of Realtors PAC and Huanghai Development, which plans to build a shopping and residential center in the city.

Lee started building a hefty war chest last year, when he collected $355,775 in contributions, with most of the money coming from construction companies and developers, records show. Former Wynn International Chairman Jack Binion, along with his wife, Phyllis Cope, and his son, T.J. Fechser, contributed a combined $40,000 to Lee in 2016.

Lee also received $10,000 last year from the Kaempfer Crowell law and lobbying firm, which represents Faraday Future, an electric car company that stalled in building a $1 billion manufacturing plant in the city. The firm also represents the developer of the Villages at Tule Springs, a master-planned housing development that’s expected to start construction this year in Ward 3.

CITY COUNCIL RACES

Last year, Kaempfer Crowell donated $10,000 apiece to Ward 1 Councilman Isaac Barron and Ward 3 Councilwoman Anita Wood, both seeking re-election.

Barron reported $57,644 in campaign contributions through March 14, records show. Boyd Gaming Corp., owner of Aliante Casino in North Las Vegas, donated $2,500, while Huanghai Development gave $5,000. Barron collected $72,475 in 2016, including in-kind donations.

Barron’s opponent in Ward 1, Hector Rivera, did not file a campaign finance report.

In Ward 3, Wood reported $41,325 in contributions during the first 10 weeks of the year, records show. Major donors include: $2,500 from Dotty’s casinos; $500 from former U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.; and $1,000 from KB Home, the developer of the Villages at Tule Springs. Wood also raised $51,020 in 2016.

Scott Black, a graphics company owner the mayor has endorsed, collected $36,143. His donations include $5,000 each from Lee’s re-election committee, NLV Leadership PAC and the Thomas & Mack Co.

Tom Collins, a former state legislator and Clark County commissioner who’s seeking a City Council seat, raised $29,553 this quarter. His largest donations were $5,000 apiece from HY Rock Excavation and LVPPAM political action committee. Collins also collected $21,002 in 2016.

Wilson “Will” Crespo reported $19,599 through March 10, including a $724 loan to himself. Crespo’s largest donation this period was $5,000 from Lacy’s Lounge, a strip club in North Las Vegas. Records also show Crespo raised $16,555 in 2016, which included a $5,000 contribution from former boxer Mike Tyson.

Ender Austin III, a youth minister, reported $400 in contributions and a $2,000 loan to himself.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.