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‘I’m an outsider’: Sam Brown talks plan for new US Senate run

Updated July 14, 2023 - 6:29 pm

Army veteran Sam Brown announced this week he is giving a run for Senate another try, framing himself as a leader Nevada needs.

“You don’t take the decision to run for U.S. Senate lightly,” Brown told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday. “The thing that really drove me was the fact that I had the opportunity, the honor, to get around and meet Nevadans over the last two years and really hear about their hopes and their dreams, but also their fears and their disappointments.”

Brown did not make it out of the 2022 Republican Senate primary, losing to former Attorney General Adam Laxalt by about 22 percentage points. This time around, Brown is running against Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., with the backing of national Republican leaders.

If the 2022 Senate race is any indication, in which Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto won her re-election by just about 8,000 votes, Rosen’s race is also expected to be tight. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes federal campaigns, as of May 2023 labeled Rosen’s seat as “Lean D,” which is one category off of a “toss-up.” With new Republican opponents in the field, that rating could soon change.

Brown contrasts himself with Rosen, calling her a “D.C. insider” and a “foot soldier” for President Joe Biden, while he is an “outsider” and a “leader.”

The retired Army captain wants to focus on what he dubbed “Nevada values,” such as smaller government, less taxes, fewer regulations and allowing more parental engagement in schools, but he did not specify what actions he would take if elected.

“These are the sorts of things that are really being sort of weighed right now by voters and Nevadans,” Brown said. “My family understands those issues. And I believe that it’s time that we have a leader who will prioritize our values and our issues over DC.”

He especially hit on inflation, blaming Rosen for voting yes on spending bills. The June Inflation Report released this week, however, found that inflation in the U.S. has reached its lowest point in more than two years at 3 percent.

Rosen was named the ninth most bipartisan senator in the 117th congressional session, but Brown does not think that matters.

“That’s like a D.C. insider politics thing. I’m an outsider,” Brown said. “The fact of the matter is, Jacky Rosen has voted with Joe Biden’s agenda, his policy, which is extremely partisan, 93 percent of the time. So we need more people across the country, not just here … who are going to prioritize their state, their constituents, their voters and their needs.”

Marchant vs. Brown

But Brown must first make it through the Republican primary, where he is up against former secretary of state candidate and election denier Jim Marchant, among other candidates.

When asked how he differs from Marchant, Brown did not answer and instead took aim at Rosen. He said people should vote for the person they trust the most, who understands the issues and who has solutions.

“When I see multiple people running an election against an incumbent, that’s just an indictment on the incumbent,” Brown said. “This is a natural response to Jacky (Rosen)’s failure. And that’s why I’m running.”

Rory McShane, a consultant for Marchant’s campaign, in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal congratulated Mitch McConnell and the “D.C. swamp” on recruiting a candidate who lost primaries in both Nevada and Texas, referring to Brown’s run for a seat in the Texas Legislature in 2014.

“Sam Brown has never won a primary and Jim Marchant has never lost a primary,” McShane said. “Nevada conservatives are smart enough to see through this DC smoke and mirror play.”

In response to Brown’s announcement, Rosen Finance Director Lexie Leventis said, “While Republicans fight each other in what’s gearing up to be a messy, expensive and increasingly crowded primary,” Sen. Rosen is raising funds to spread her own message about “getting things done and delivering for Nevada.”

On the issues

During the 10-minute interview, Brown danced around some questions, not giving clear answers.

When asked if Brown would support a nationwide abortion ban or if he would support Nevada’s abortion protections, he said he wants to see fewer abortions and is pro-life, but he does not see the law changing in Nevada after the Supreme Court kicked the decision back to the states. He instead wants to focus on increasing access to adoption and improving prenatal and postnatal care.

When asked if he thinks the 2020 election was free and fair and if Biden won the election, Brown said the 2020 election was “years ago.”

“This is not a partisan issue,” Brown said. “There’s people on the left who are concerned about outside influence of elections. There’s people on the right who are concerned about whether their vote counts. We need to work to make sure that elections are easier for people to participate in. I want to see engagement go up.”

“My commitment here is that I will never falter on our Nevada values, and I will never quit on Nevadans,” Brown said.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on Twitter.

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