Former President Donald Trump touts that former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt is a “true warrior for conservative principles and the MAGA agenda.”
Headlining a tele-rally for Laxalt – the clear polling and fundraising front-runner in Nevada’s GOP Senate nomination race – Trump noted that next Tuesday’s [June 14] Silver State primary “happens to be my birthday.”
“So if you would give me a nice birthday present – and that’s Adam, give me Adam as a birthday present,” the former president urged supporters on the Wednesday evening call.
Laxalt faces seven other rivals for the chance to face off in November with first-term Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a former two-term state attorney general whom national Republicans view as vulnerable in the crucial general election battleground state. The race is one of a handful across the country that will likely decide if the GOP wins back the Senate majority in November’s midterms.
“Adam Laxalt always puts America First and has my complete and total endorsement,” Trump says as he stars in a Laxalt campaign commercial running on TV in Nevada.
Laxalt also enjoys the endorsement and support of longtime Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the big spending outside group Club for Growth. Trump, McConnell and the Club for Growth have often been at odds with each other this cycle in other high-profile Republican primaries.
Two other stars on the right – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – traveled to Nevada in recent weeks to campaign with Laxalt, and DeSantis also appears in a Laxalt ad.
“It’s always part of a primary to close strong,” Laxalt emphasized in an interview with Fox News. “It’s our job on top of the ticket to make sure we’re exciting our base and turning out our voters and the primary’s a great dry run for the general election.”
And looking ahead to November, he stressed that “people understand that this is going to be race that decides who has the majority. I am tested. I won a statewide race. I’m a former attorney general running against a former attorney general in a year where the open border and law and order issues are paramount. It’s a credible matchup. All sides understand how important this is and have confidence that I’m going to beat her in November.”
But before he faces off with Cortez Masto, Laxalt first needs to win on Tuesday and standing in his way is his top rival in the race, Sam Brown, a West Point graduate and retired Army captain who led troops in combat and who recovered from serious injuries sustained from IED explosion during a 2008 deployment in Afghanistan.
Disregarding the public opinion polls, Brown told Fox News he’s “standing on the verge of victory despite all the challenges ahead of us.”
Brown highlights his grassroots style campaign, saying “it’s always been about building relationships and talking to Nevadans, earning trust.” And he claims that “we provide a contrast to Adam Laxalt’s D.C. based campaign.”
And Brown reiterated his criticism that Laxalt, the grandson of former Nevada governor and senator Paul Laxalt and the son of former Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, is an elitist.
“He was raised inside the Beltway. His grandfather and his dad were both U.S. senators. His mom was a prominent lobbyist in D.C.,” Brown said. “He had a very elite and exclusive upbringing and opportunities.”
Pointing to Laxalt’s 2018 loss to now-Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, Brown charged, “It’s irrefutable he’s a failed politician. He lost the governor’s race in 2018. That’s a race he should have won and he lost.”
And questioning Laxalt’s conservative credentials, he argued “it’s hard to know who Adam Laxalt is” and asserted that “the political winds dictate who he is that day.”
Laxalt, who served five years as a Navy JAG, fired back.
“He graduated from West Point. He’s got a flag officer and a colonel for a father and an uncle. His family owns both the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals,” he said of Brown.
And pointing to Brown’s unsuccessful run for the state legislature during his years living in Texas, Laxalt argued “after he lost his last race, he’s trying to channel what he thinks is going to win a primary.”
Laxalt co-chaired Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign in Nevada. Following now-President Biden’s razor-thin victory in the state, Laxalt – who’s been a major backer of Trump’s unproven claims that the president election was “rigged” with “massive fraud” and “stolen” – was one of the lawyers to file a suit claiming that “many non-citizens may have voted” in the election. That suit and another he was involved with in Nevada were dismissed.
And that’s handed Brown ammunition, as he claims “when President Trump relied on him [Laxalt] to sort of lead the charge in his re-election effort in 2020, he failed President Trump and Republicans all across the country as Trump lost Nevada.”
Brown charges that Trump “got bad advice” in endorsing Laxalt. But he highlighted, “I trust that voters will look at all the factors that make up who we are as candidates…. as Nevadans have looked further and further into who I am and who Laxalt is, that they trust me and they’re not going to be enchanted by folks from D.C., or even Florida, trying to come out and rescue Laxalt.”
Laxalt emphasized that he’s “been honored to have his [Trump’s] endorsement from week one.”
And looking ahead to the general election, he said “we’ll be grateful for his support all the way through November.”
Among the others on the Republican Senate primary ballot next Tuesday are Sharelle Mendenhall, the owner and CEO of a talent agency and a former Miss California and Mrs. Nevada; William Conrad, West Point graduate, retired Army lieutenant colonel and Green Beret who served four tours of duty in Afghanistan; Bill Hockstedler, a business executive who served a dozen years in the Army and Air Force; and small business owner and Air Force veteran Paul Rodriguez.