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The scene before the Nevada Democratic Party election night event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)

Following intra-party turmoil over the election of party leaders backed by the Democratic Socialists of America, the Nevada Democratic Party raised nearly $453,000 in March, including more than $370,000 from small-dollar donors, according to the party’s disclosure filed late Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.

The state party also reported that it had more than $440,000 cash on hand at the end of the month. Ahead of the contested leadership election, the party had reported raising nearly $50,000 in February and more than $521,000 cash on hand.

The filing period encompasses the March 6 election of a slate of Democratic Socialist candidates, led by party Chair Judith Whitmer, who took over the party’s leadership and led to the mass resignation of the staff. It also includes the sudden transfer of $450,000 out of the party's coffers to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee just a few days prior to the vote, as establishment Democrats braced for a loss. 

Their election could make it difficult for Democratic candidates to deflect GOP criticism that Democrats are too liberal for the state. 

The party's efforts were boosted by fundraising emails from Congress' biggest progressive stars, namely Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Known for supporting substantial progressive reforms such as the Green New Deal or Medicare for All, the pair have joined other national progressives in becoming fodder for Republicans eager to cast all Democrats as socialists.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who is up for re-election in 2022, recently said she supports capitalism when asked whether using Ocasio Cortez to raise funds bothered her. But Cortez Masto also said she expects Democrats to run winning campaigns up and down the Nevada ticket.

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