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Adam Laxalt and Sam Brown debate the issues on Nevada Newsmakers (Photo: Nevada Newsmakers)

In First Debate, Sam Brown Swings at Laxalt and Mostly Misses

During lively forum, Brown accuses Laxalt of ‘doing nothing’ for election integrity

By Megan Barth, May 10, 2022 3:55 pm

On Monday, GOP candidates for U.S. Senate, Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Captain Sam Brown squared off at the end of a “debate” hosted by Sam Shad and moderated by Victor Joecks of the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Although the debate was an hour long, much of the debate simply wasn’t a debate. It was a good discussion as to how each candidate would solve the problems related to the economy, immigration, water issues, domestic energy and security, censorship, Roe v. Wade and Ukraine. Laxalt and Brown provided similar conservative solutions of limited government, states rights and placed the blame on the Biden administration for the country’s ills, the failed withdraw from Afghanistan, and escalation of war in Ukraine.

Of note, during the entire hour, Brown never mentioned the name of the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto; whereas Laxalt married Cortez-Masto to Biden in nearly every response, claiming that Cortez-Masto was equally to blame for rising inflation, gas prices, increasing crime and an open border. If this were a debate on which candidate was running against Cortez-Masto, Laxalt was the clear winner.

However, the most interesting part of the “debate” was towards the very end, when Shad asked each candidate to explain their differences. Laxalt touted his experience as Attorney General and Brown curiously cited Laxalt’s failure when it came to election integrity.

Captain Sam Brown at the Nevada Republican State Convention, April 30, 2022. (Photo: Vicky Tambunting for The Nevada Globe).
That is curious turf for Brown to have staked out, given his own strong reluctance to take a stand on the issue in the past. In August, Brown told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the following about his views on election integrity after he was asked twice whether he thought there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.  “That’s not something that I want to focus on,” Brown said. “That’s, once again, going back to events that are behind us, and what I want to do is look forward.”
Yet, Brown looked backward to 2016 and 2020 in this exchange:

“The fact of the matter is, you knew as attorney general that non-citizens were registered to vote, and you did nothing,” Brown said. “You knew that in 2016, non-citizens did vote, and you did nothing about that. And then in 2020, when President Trump, Nevadans and Americans were relying on you to be the one to challenge any sort of issues, the only thing you did was to file a lawsuit that, by your own admission, was late.”

Laxalt replied, Brown was running for office in Texas in 2014 and living in Texas in 2016. and added, “The reality is, it’s the Secretary of State that’s empowered with investigating voter fraud in this state. President Trump looked at the camera and said the only person that he can trust in this state is me.”

Brown pressed, “Does President Trump know that you filed the lawsuits late, though?Does he know that when you lost to , you blamed 100,000 Trump voters for that loss?”

Laxalt replied that President Trump was well aware that the 2020 lawsuits were filed late, but also that he was not in charge of those suits as the co-chair of the campaign. “I was the one that had to stand on the line there, to the end, as the media was attacking me, even challenging my patriotism as someone who served our country in uniform,” Laxalt said. ‘The reality is presidential campaigns are run by the national presidential campaign. It’s always done that way. I was incredibly upset that action came late, but I wasn’t in charge. And President Trump understands what happened. He’s not happy with it.”

This exchange was followed by a 30 second digital attack ad that really didn’t land even a glancing blow, released today by the Brown campaign, alleging that Nevadans deserve better. “We’re not going to settle for people who blame everyone else when they fail,” said Captain Sam Brown in a press release, before following it up with a nonsensical equivalency: “Adam Laxalt relies on endorsements because Nevadans can’t rely on him.”

Adam Laxalt at the Nevada Republican State Convention, April 30, 2022. (Photo: Vicky Tambunting for The Nevada Globe).

John Burke, Communications Director of the Laxalt campaign, provided an exclusive statement to The Globe, taking a shot at Brown’s status as a relative newcomer to the state:

“Texas Sam Brown is a desperate candidate who’s resorted to lying to save his flailing campaign. Now he’s trying to pretend that he’s a fighter for election integrity when he did nothing to protect our elections in 2020. The bottom line is that while Adam Laxalt was defending President Trump as his Nevada co-chair, Brown did not step up to the fight. That’s why President Trump and conservatives across the state and country have endorsed Laxalt over Brown.”

Finally, both candidates were asked if they’d support Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell as majority leader if Republicans retake control of the Senate.

Laxalt stated, “The biggest problem we have in the Republican party is that we have failed to be on offense. We have let our country drift to the Left for many decades. We have not found a way for our DC politicians go on offense…We need to be a forward-leading fighting party. I would vote for the most conservative person that runs for leader for the Senate.” Brown agreed that he would vote for the most conservative leader and took a last swipe at Laxalt, claiming that Laxalt owes McConnell his vote because McConnell has endorsed Laxalt’s campaign. To note, McConnell has not formally endorsed Laxalt’s campaign.


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Megan Barth
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One thought on “In First Debate, Sam Brown Swings at Laxalt and Mostly Misses

  1. I am sick of seeing these carpetbagger candidates coming here from other states just to run for national office,we already have rosen, the senator for the eastern district of california(nevada) ans we sure don’t need another rich guy showing up to do it to us again.
    Lee is another carpetbagger,lifelong dem and now he wants to be a gop candidate

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