Attorney leads in fundraising, endorsements in CD3 Republican primary

By: - May 9, 2022 5:49 am

April Becker is one of multiple Republican candidates nationwide running ads of themselves at a gas pump. Becker has not identified specific proposals to address inflation. (Becker campaign video screengrab)

A Democrat has won the third congressional district, which is currently held by U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, for three consecutive terms since 2016, even though Donald Trump carried the district that year.

Republicans running to unseat Lee this year think a combination of inflation and President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings will open a path to victory and help conservatives switch the seat, which could aid Republicans in attempts to regain control of the House. 

April Becker, a real estate attorney who narrowly lost her bid for a state Senate seat to Democratic Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro in 2020, is leading in fundraising and endorsements against four other Republicans candidates in the primary election.

Becker declined to comment for this story.  

In a December interview with conservative website Newsmax, she said she was running for the district because “Nevadans are fed up.”

“They are watching what’s going on with this administration and with gas prices going up, food prices, things that hit them in the pocket, they are paying attention,” she said. 

Becker released an ad in April, using a theme duplicated by various Republican candidates showing them pumping gas, attacking Lee for rising costs.

“Liberal policies and reckless spending by Susie and her boss Nancy Pelosi have increased the price of gas and groceries,” Becker says in the ad.

Congress has little authority over the price of gas, which has gone up 28% nationally and is currently  averaging $5.11 in Nevada. 

Becker hasn’t offered any specific policy proposals for how she would address inflation if elected.

Other candidates include Noah Malgeri, an army veteran and former director of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada’s pro bono project, John Kovacs, a civil engineer, and Clark Bossert, a machine shop manager at UNLV. 

Albert Goldberg, another candidate, doesn’t have a campaign website or any campaign finance filings. 

Becker, who according to latest Federal Election Commission filings raised $1.05 million and has $449,864 cash on hand as of March 31, has substantially outraised the other candidates in the primary.

Malgeri raised $277,990 and has $100,006 cash on hand, Kovacs has raised $341,699 and $3,096 cash on hand and Bossert raised $23,493 and has $1,618 cash on hand.

Becker has also racked up notable endorsements from the Nevada State Republican Party, Republican U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Republicans seeking other offices this year, candidates including former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who is running for U.S. Senate. 

McCarthy and Laxalt both endorsed Dan Rodimer in 2020 in the Republican primary against former Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwarz. Rodimer lost to Lee by three points in 2020. 

Despite the district voting in favor of Trump in 2016 – the district narrowly went to Biden in 2020 – it has yet to back congressional candidates who’ve embraced Trump.

When asked via email if Biden was the duly elected president, Becker’s campaign didn’t respond. 

Becker’s website has a section on “election integrity” that calls for voter identification, a ban on “ballot harvesting,” and criticizes federal election protections.

While her website doesn’t mention the 2020 election, following her loss for state Senate that year Becker filed a lawsuit seeking a new election because of baseless claims of alleged voter fraud. 

Nevada Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office conducted an audit of the 2020 election which was released in April 2021 and found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.  

Malgeri and Clark have also repeated false claims there was massive voter fraud during the 2020 election. 

“We are entitled to justice for those who perpetrated the massive election steal of 2020, which amounted to a coup against the American people,” Malgeri wrote. “We are entitled to free and transparent elections going forward, and to insurance (sic) that only those who are entitled to vote do so, at the very least through the requirement of proper identification for voters.”

On his website, Bossert wrote it was “an indisputable fact that the 2020 election process was fraught with tens of millions of credible reports of substantial election irregularities and outright fraud in many cases.” 

Both claims are unsubstantiated. A months-long analysis conducted by the Associated Press found only 475 cases of potential fraud combined in Nevada and the five other battleground states disputed by Trump and his campaign, nowhere near enough to have made any difference in the outcome of the 2020 election. Not all the potentially fraudulent votes were for Biden, and the vast majority of them were caught by election officials and not counted.

The CD3 GOP candidates are leaning on other popular conservative issues such as bolstering border security to address the rise of illegal immigration, decrying “socialism” and “wokism,” and ousting critical race theory from classrooms. 

The latter is an academic concept taught at the graduate level and in law schools that explores systemic racism, and isn’t taught in Nevada schools, but has become a rallying point among Republicans.

Malgeri also accused Democrats as well as the LGBTQ community at large of indoctrination and “grooming,” a term that has been used more frequently in light of conservative-led anti-gay and anti-trans legislation sweeping the nation. 

On immigration, Becker’s campaign website called for finishing a wall to prevent mass migration, adding that “mass immigration drives down wages and leads to businesses’ cutting corners and taking advantage of individuals.”

Kovacs also supports building a wall to prevent “illegal immigration” while Malgeri wants to end the DACA program and birthright citizenship

All the candidates are running on “pro-life” platforms, especially notable following a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court of the United States is gearing up to overrule the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion. 

Becker, who is endorsed by ant-abortion groups such as the Susan B Anthony List, has said on her website she support exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.”

She didn’t answer questions on whether she would vote in favor of a federal abortion ban, an idea pushed by anti-abortion activistst, lawmakers and the Susan B. Anthony List in the event Republicans win complete control of Congress and the White House in 2024. 

In a video standing in front of a Planned Parenthood sign, Malgeri applauded the draft opinion calling it “one of the finest pieces of legal scholarship and one of the most well-reasoned opinions.” 

“We are going to defund Planned Parenthood when I get to Congress,” he said. “I can’t wait to never vote for a piece of appropriating legislation that gives a dime of your taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood to continue to kill unborn babies in the United States.”

He also called for Nevadans to support legislators who would bring a “Heartbeat” bill to Nevada, a ban on abortions if a heartbeat is detected. 

Whoever wins the primary will likely face off against Lee, who has one Democratic challenger Randell Hynes, who hasn’t reported any financial filings with the FEC. 

Lee has outraised all the GOP candidates so far with $3.08 million and $2.1 million cash on hand as of March 31.

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.

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