Lawyers for Republican Adam Laxalt have asked Nevada TV stations to stop running an attack ad that “contains false and defamatory statements” about the Nevada attorney general candidate, his campaign said Friday.
The ad backed by the Democratic Attorneys General Association uses leaked notes from a performance review of Laxalt’s private legal work in which colleagues call him “a train wreck” as a lawyer.
The ad falsely attributes that characterization to the Lewis Roca Rothgerber law firm instead of to individuals, the campaign said.
The law firm has strongly objected to the portrayal of Laxalt and has defended his work, saying he is a talented attorney and is welcome back at the firm.
“Not only does the ad falsely describe our firm’s conclusions following Adam’s initial review, but it ignores Adam’s performance in the period after that initial review,” the firm said in a statement that’s included in a letter to Nevada TV stations dated Oct. 16. “The firm also has previously stated that the release of internal firm documents was not authorized by the firm, making the ad’s use of unattributed notes in those documents especially inappropriate.”
“The firm stands by its previous statement that Adam is a capable and talented attorney, who made excellent contributions to our firm, and who served his clients well,” the statement added.
The letter from Laxalt’s lawyer names the Silver State Committee For Justice And Fairness, which is the name of the Nevada political action committee the Democratic AGs association set up.
Robert Uithoven, an adviser to Laxalt’s campaign, said several TV stations that received the letter said Friday they are reviewing the request.
At least one station, KTVN of Reno, a CBS affiliate, stopped running the ad while it considers Laxalt’s request.
“We’ve pulled it while we’re reviewing the documentation,” KTVN General Manager Lawson Fox said.
Uithoven said the Laxalt campaign believes one individual, who may or may not still work at Lewis Rocha, wrote the bad performance notes, although several other lawyers’ names are on the document.
“The law firm has pressed back very strongly, saying this is not the position of the firm. These were never the views of the firm,” Uithoven said in an interview.
Laxalt’s opponent, Democrat Ross Miller, also has an attack ad that makes reference to the poor job review, but candidates under the law have more leeway to criticize their opponents than PACS.
Miller, who is secretary and of state, has also come under attack from the Republican Attorneys General Association in what has become the most expensive attorney general’s race in Nevada history.
In those TV spots, Miller is criticized for taking more than $75,000 in gifts while in office, including free fight tickets and entertainment.
Both the Republican and Democratic AGs groups are spending $1 million or more each to run TV ads in the race and more might be coming.
Miller has raised more than $2 million for his campaign and Laxalt has raised $1.3 million so far. The Nevada Democratic Party also has spent about $700,000 to help Miller.
Insiders expect the race to cost from $7 million to $10 million by the Nov. 4 general election, with early voting getting underway on Saturday. That would make it the most expensive state race.
Contact Laura Myers at email@example.com or 702-387-2919. Find her on Twitter: @lmyerslvrj.