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Fred Simon
Fred Simon stands with other republican governor candidates onstage for a debate in Reno on Jan. 6, 2022.Ty ONeil / Sipa via AP file

Spending in Nevada governor's race set to hit $10 million

The GOP primary pits a surgeon, a mayor and a sheriff against nearly two dozen others.

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Ahead of next week's primary in Nevada, Republican candidates for governor have spent almost $5 million on ads pitching themselves to voters, according to the ad tracking firm, AdImpact.

In total, there are almost two dozen candidates running for the opportunity to face incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak in November. The frontrunners are Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Las Vegas mayor John Lee and heart surgeon Fred Simon.

Lombardo has spent $1.2 million on ads so far and Lee has spent $2 million so far, while Simon has spent under $100,000.

The top spender by far though is an outside group called Better Nevada PAC, which has spent over $2.9 million on ads in Lombardo's favor. The group is funded in part by the American Exceptionalism Institute, a dark money group that's not required to disclose its donors.

The second top spender in the race is another outside group -- A Stronger Nevada. That group has spent almost $2.5 million on ads attacking Lombardo, like one where they claim he's more focused on running for governor than reducing crime.

That group hasn't yet disclosed any campaign finance data.

Whoever wins the Republican nomination on Tuesday will likely be set to spend even more this fall when they go up against incumbent Sisolak.

In the 2018 cycle, Sisolak spent over $13 million ahead of his initial election. And, A Stronger Nevada has already placed over $12 million on ads from mid-June through November 8, general Election Day. That number could change as groups have flexibility to adjust their future spending.