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Adam Laxalt makes bid for Cortez Masto’s Senate seat official

Updated August 17, 2021 - 6:51 pm

Adam Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general and 2018 Republican candidate for governor, officially announced his candidacy Tuesday for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.

In a campaign video dotted with references to the “Star Wars” movies, Laxalt attacked familiar villains to conservatives, including “the radical left, rich elites, woke corporations, academia, Hollywood and the media.”

“That’s your empire, right there, telling lie after lie, making excuses for chaos and violence, censoring truth that doesn’t fit their agenda, amplifying anger and envy,” he said. “They demand control.”

Laxalt’s campaign video also promoted his service in the U.S. Navy and his record in state office.

“As your attorney general, I fought for our constitution and the American way of life,” Laxalt said. “I stood up for victims — victims of rape and human trafficking, victims of guardianship abuse and the opioid crisis.”

Nevada’s Senate race is one of the key contests nationally for 2022 because it could tip control of the Senate. Laxalt acknowledges in his campaign video that it won’t be an easy race.

“We’re David, they’re Goliath,” he said. “We’re the rebels, they’re the empire. But we are America. We are the good guys. And for all our kids, we’re not gonna let the bad guys win.”

In a video posted to Twitter Tuesday morning, Cortez Masto addressed Laxalt’s candidacy but did not mention him by name.

“Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked candidate for Senate just launched his campaign against me,” Cortez Masto said. “Now remember, Donald Trump only lost Nevada by 2 points, and my race will be very close, and it will very well determine control of the U.S. Senate.”

Asked directly about Laxalt’s candidacy, Cortez Masto, also a former state attorney general, said she is focused on Nevadans.

“I love this state,” she said. “I love everything about it. And I’m just honored to be able to be an advocate in Washington.”

The campaign for Sam Brown, another Republican seeking the Senate seat, released a statement welcoming Laxalt to the race, but asserting that Republicans in Nevada are looking for voices from outside of political circles.

“The problem is that the political class has failed us,” the statement read. “Elites and the powerful have abandoned the people they’ve sworn to serve. They care about power and money and their own legacy, NOT their duty.”

Laxalt was elected attorney general in 2014. In 2018, he unsuccessfully ran for governor against Democrat Steve Sisolak.

Last year, Laxalt served as state campaign co-chair for President Donald Trump.

After Laxalt released his campaign video, state Democrats’ recently formed coordinated campaign organization, Nevada Democratic Victory, attacked him for his role in promoting baseless claims of mass voter fraud in the 2020 election.

“Failed politician Adam Laxalt has a history of corruption and consistently uses his public position to work against Nevadans,” spokesman Andy Orellana said in a statement. “As attorney general, he used his office to benefit his special interest donors, and he became Donald Trump’s main lackey in Nevada by orchestrating bogus lawsuits to prop up the Big Lie and overturn the 2020 election. While Senator Cortez Masto is putting Nevadans first, Laxalt is only ever looking out for himself.”

In response, Laxalt campaign spokesman Robert Uithoven in a statement said Cortez Masto “is rolling out the same tired and demonstrably false allegations. If she would only spend a fraction of her time trying to secure the border, support our law enforcement, or protect middle class Nevadans from socialists and woke elites as she does desperately trying to cling to power, maybe ordinary Nevadans who are nonexistent to her would see some benefit to her being in office. Instead, she cowers to the radical left and yields to their agenda, to the peril of our state and nation.”

Laxalt’s bid to unseat Cortez Masto had been expected.

At a political fundraiser in Gardnerville on Saturday, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas announced the former attorney general’s candidacy. A day later, Laxalt filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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