Rep. Heck leads Bilbray in campaign contributions

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Republican Rep. Joe Heck was leading Democratic challenger Erin Bilbray by a 3-1 margin in campaign cash in the race for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District, a seat coveted by Democrats in the fall election.

Reports filed Tuesday with the Federal Elections Commission show Heck raised $365,000 in the first quarter of the year and ended the period with $1.2 million cash on hand. Bilbray's campaign reported raising about $271,000 from January through March and having $426,000 in the bank.

Heck is seeking a third term in the House of Representatives. The 3rd Congressional District seat in southern Nevada is a major target of Democrats, who hope to reclaim it in the November election. Democrats have a small edge over Republicans in voter registrations in the district, but a big block of voters — 58,000 — are registered as nonpartisan and will play a significant role in deciding the outcome.

Registration advantages alone cannot guarantee victory at the ballot box. In 2012, Democrats had 7,000 more registered voters than Republicans, but Heck easily defeated John Oceguera, former Democratic state Assembly speaker, by a margin of 7 percentage points.

In Nevada's 4th District, incumbent Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford raised $220,000 and ended the three-month period with $287,000 cash on hand.

Republican challengers Niger Innis and Cresent Hardy each reported about $100,000 in the bank, money they will need in trying to advance against the other in the GOP primary on June 10.

Innis raised nearly $171,000 from October through March 31, while Hardy collected about $169,000 in the same time span, FEC reports show.

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