EXCLUSIVE: Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt on Tuesday officially declared his candidacy for the Senate in a Republican bid to oust first-term Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in the 2022 midterm elections.
“The radical left, rich elites, woke corporations, academia, Hollywood, and the media – they’re taking over America,” Laxalt charged in a statement shared first with Fox News.
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Laxalt accused Democrats of “canceling any who stand in their way” and argued that “we must stand in their way because it’s not just about us. We owe it to our kids and generations to come. I’m ready to fight for what is right. That’s what Americans do. That’s the legacy we have a duty to protect.”
Nevada is one of the top targets the GOP is aiming to flip from blue to red in next year’s midterms, when the party needs a net gain of just one seat to regain the Senate majority it lost in the 2020 election cycle.
And Laxalt, an Iraq War veteran and grandson of the late Nevada governor and senator Paul Laxalt, appears to be a consensus candidate for the GOP. He’s an ally of former President Trump, and sources close to longtime Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell tell Fox News it’s likely an endorsement by the Kentucky Republican could happen in the weeks ahead.
In a video announcing his campaign, Laxalt spotlighted that “after 9/11, I volunteered to serve in the Navy. I served in Iraq during the Surge together with other men and women of all races and backgrounds. We were all Americans doing our part, defending this great nation from those determined to destroy it.”
And Laxalt, a 42-year-old Reno-based attorney, showcased that during his four years as Nevada attorney general, “I fought for our Constitution and the American way of life. I stood up for victims. Victims of rape and human trafficking. Victims of guardianship abuse and the opioid crisis.”
He noted that “the battle to keep our country free doesn’t end. If anything, the stakes are higher now than they’ve ever been in our lifetime. That’s why I’m running for Senate.”
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Spotlighting that his children are major “Star Wars” fans, he said that “we’ve watched all nine movies, twice…and counting. They love it because it’s a story about right and wrong. Good versus evil.”
And he argued that his campaign “won’t be an easy battle. We’re David, they’re Goliath. 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 going to let the bad guys win.”
Laxalt, the son of former Republican Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, won statewide in Nevada in the 2014 election, making history as the country’s youngest attorney general. He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018, narrowly losing to now-Gov. Steve Sisolak.
Two years later, Laxalt served as co-chair of Trump’s 2020 campaign in Nevada and immediately after the election was one of the leaders in the unsuccessful legal push to overturn Joe Biden’s razor-thin victory in the state.
Laxalt becomes the third candidate in the race for the Republican nomination, which will be decided in next June’s primary. And he’s the second veteran, joining Sam Brown, who as an Army officer was seriously wounded in the war in Afghanistan.
Both Republicans and Democrats anticipated Laxalt’s bid for months. And while Laxalt stayed mum about his pending news on Saturday, during his sixth annual Basque Fry, two of the featured speakers at the conservative gathering and fundraiser for Nevada Republicans praised his all-but-announced campaign.
Former Trump Cabinet member Ric Grenell told the crowd of roughly 4,000 to expect a formal announcement on Tuesday.
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And Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, noting that the Democrats control both houses of Congress, predicted that “we’re going to change that come 2022, and that change starts right here in Nevada, when Adam Laxalt sends Catherine Cortez Masto packing home for Nevada.”
But beating Cortez Masto in the key western battleground state won’t be easy. The former two-term Nevada attorney general defeated Republican Joe Heck by two and a half points in the 2016 race to succeed retiring longtime Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. She made history as the first Latina elected to the Senate.