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PARTY LINES: Laxalt pulls out big guns as primary nears

As the primary election comes to a close, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt is pulling out the big guns.

Former President Donald Trump — who previously endorsed Laxalt in the primary — appears in a direct-to-camera ad running on TV, extending his patented “complete and total endorsement.”

“We’ve all learned that when the going gets tough, some Republicans just run for the hills,” Trump says. “As president, I learned who to count on in the fight to save our great country. And there’s no one more trustworthy in Nevada than Adam Laxalt. He served our country in Iraq, and he was one of the toughest AGs in all of America.”

That’s the same theme highlighted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s own direct-to-camera ad promotes Laxalt’s courage.

“You and I know we are in a fight to save our country,” DeSantis says. “There’s nobody I trust more to join me in this fight than Adam Laxalt. I’ve known Adam since we were in the U.S. Navy (Judge Advocate General Corps) together. He will stand for our values and he will never run away from a fight.”

Both ads feature a photo of Laxalt in a Humvee, wearing a ballistic vest and helmet, a reminder of his tour of duty in Iraq.

Why spend the money now, rather than wait until the general election? Why all the talk of fighting the good fight? Two words: Sam Brown, the former U.S. Army captain who is challenging Laxalt for the GOP nomination. Brown was wounded badly in Afghanistan, and he’s given Laxalt a run for his money in the primary.

In fact, Brown is enjoying a “surge” of sorts, at least in the media.

NBC News wrote a piece saying Brown, “an underdog candidate in the Nevada GOP Senate primary has unexpectedly tightened the race just two weeks before the election, powered by an enthusiastic grassroots base that appears increasingly inclined to turn away from longtime polling favorite Adam Laxalt.”

Time magazine says that “Trump’s bet (in endorsing Laxalt) has turned into more of a crap shoot,” because Brown “has managed to turn the race into one of the most competitive GOP primaries in the nation.”

Is the Brown surge real? Is the race really tightening? Laxalt is still certainly the favorite to win the primary, but the Trump and DeSantis ads – not to mention a Laxalt-financed website attacking Brown for a previous run for office in Texas – show that the Laxalt campaign thinks Brown is enough of a threat to spend money to ensure Laxalt wins the June 14 primary.

Fun with numbers

You can’t extrapolate much from a couple months of statistics, but as we move further into early voting and toward primary Election Day, Republicans are picking up the pace.

Between April and May, Republicans added 6,982 voters statewide, and nonpartisans picked up 5,257 new registrations. Democrats gained, too, but not as much: Just 3,587 people signed up.

And, the statewide Democratic advantage fell from 62,297 more active Democrats than Republicans in April to 58,902 in May.

At this point in the last mid-term election in 2018, Democrats had a statewide advantage over Republicans of 62,901 active registered voters. They were also 4 percentage points ahead of the GOP; this year, Democrats are only about 3 percentage points ahead. And unlike four years ago, nonpartisans have made massive gains: They are now just 1 percentage point behind Republicans and about 4 percentage points behind Democrats.

Can someone please check on Nancy Pelosi?

If you read the fundraising emails sent out by the national political parties, campaign committees or PACs – and we heartily suggest that you don’t – you’d think House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was sitting around all day doing nothing but writing emails.

“My jaw just dropped,” reads one. “NPR declared the unthinkable.”

“I don’t know what to say,” reads another. “I asked you Saturday. I asked you Sunday. I asked you Monday. I asked you Tuesday. I’m truly sorry to ask you again today. … I just received an emergency phone call that made my heart drop.”

“I’m done,” starts yet another. “Now, I’m going to watch Trump and Republicans’ plot to regain power completely BACKFIRE.”

“I’m in utter disbelief,” reads one. “I just watched Republicans’ Senate lead completely PLUMMET.”

“I’m disgusted,” says Pelosi in another. “I’m so disgusted, I can hardly type this email. Minutes ago, Senate Democrats took a historic vote to SAVE Roe v. Wade’s protections from decimation. But I just watched every single Republican Senator vote against this bill and BLOCK it.”

She may have been disgusted, but was she really surprised?

As President Joe Biden might say, c’mon, man.

Whatever else you may believe about Pelosi, one thing is true: She’s a savvy, political professional who has managed to survive and thrive despite circumstances that would have felled lesser people. She’s a serious person, but unrecognizable in the sentences of the emails that are sent out in her name.

But the people at pactothefuture.org (get it?) who are writing these insipid fundraising pitches make her sound frazzled, emotional and constantly stressed about political developments that we know she takes in stride. They’re insulting the speaker and the audience of readers who have, for whatever unfortunate reason, ended up on the fundraising lists.

And it’s not just this particular PAC and Pelosi; other political figures send out pitches that are just as cloying, outrageous or disingenuous. (Trump’s near-ubiquitous marketing pitches are a good example.)

The saddest thing? They must be succeeding at raising money, because otherwise the people behind them would try another tactic, say, leveling with donors, not insulting their intelligence or stoking their fears: We need to raise money to elect members of our team to office, so we can actually accomplish the things we’ve heard from you that you want done.

But that’s not as eye-catching as an MSNBC ALERT! or learning from the speaker of the House that “Fox News just admitted …” something or other. Plus, it may remind donors that no matter how much they seem to give, very little changes in Washington, D.C.

Nothing but love!

Last week, we told you about a letter signed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of U.S. senators, including Nevada’s own Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen. The respective news releases sent out by their offices, however, did not mention each other, which prompted us to ask playfully whether a rivalry was brewing.

But an insider source within a senator’s office called this week to say that there is no rivalry at all between senior senator Cortez Masto and junior senator Rosen. In fact, the source said, they frequently send joint news releases and appear at events together. For example, both senators recently toured the Metropolitan Police Department’s Reality Based Training Center (and neither even tried to use a Taser on the other!). They stood side by side at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City on Memorial Day. And both appeared at the kickoff of the Interstate 15-Tropicana Avenue interchange rebuilding with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Bottom line: There is much love between the two Senate offices, according to the source.

Quote of the week

“The basic issue is how do you manage a river to balance inflow with diversions, what you take out. It’s a simple balance equation. We must reach water balance, cut diversions down to the level, which on a short term average is the amount of water coming in. You’ve got to balance the water coming in, water going out.” — Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, calling for a renegotiation of the Colorado River Compact.

Bonus quote of the week

“I think things have gotten so bad that everybody’s getting more rational, at least that’s my hope.” — President Joe Biden, on the prospects for a gun control bill passing in Congress.

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.

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