(Chuck Muth) – In the Nevada GOP primary for U.S. Senate, DC-anointed front-runner Adam Laxalt is expected to report raising $1.4 million in the last quarter while upstart challenger and first-time candidate Sam Brown raised a surprising $1.1 million.
Interesting dynamic involved here: Laxalt will likely report most of his money coming from traditional establishment GOP movers-and-shakers while newcomer Brown will likely show widespread financial support from non-traditional small-dollar donors all across the country.
Both are conservative candidates. Both will have sufficient funding to be competitive. And the differences on issues important to conservative are negligible.
So the real question for Nevada Republican voters is gonna boil down to this: Which candidate has the best chance to beat incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez-Masto-Reid in the general election?
And make no mistake, she IS beatable despite the overwhelming money advantage she’ll have since she’ll also be running with three huge anvils named Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi wrapped snugly around her neck.
While St. Catherine won the seat in 2016, it was by just over 2 points and only after her opponent in that race, then-Rep. Joe Heck, joined the now-infamous “Never Trump” press conference with failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney and ex-Sen. Dean “Never Trump” Heller.
Not exactly an electoral colossus who sends a tingle up the legs of Democrat voters.
Brown, still largely unknown to voters at this point, has a compelling story.
He joined the Army and was accepted at West Point a month after 9/11, graduated in 2006 and went on to become an Airborne Ranger. He was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division – “The Big Red One” – at Ft. Hood, Texas before shipping out for deployment in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2008.
While on patrol one fateful morning, Brown’s Humvee was blown off the road by an IED. He was doused in diesel fuel from the explosion and set on fire. He was burned from head to toe over 90% of his body and thought he was going to die.
But his men saved him, and Brown then went through years of excruciatingly painful rehab for his injuries. Anyone who doesn’t think this man in tough enough to face off against St. Catherine and the swamp creatures in Washington, DC is nuts.
The problem for Brown is that he’s not very well known.
The problem for Laxalt is that he is.
Laxalt – who served four years as Nevada’s attorney general after eking out a razor-thin victory in the “red wave” election of 2014 and lost the governor’s race to Steve Sisolak in 2018 – is extremely well connected to and supported by Mitch McConnell and the GOP’s inside-the-beltway swamp creatures.
But he’s also earned a reputation for not being a “people person” on the campaign trail and people have noticed it. He has a sense of entitlement and destiny; that he’s the “chosen one” who’s going to lead Republicans in Nevada out of the desert and into the political promised land.
But many Republicans aren’t looking for a “savior.” They’re looking for a battlefield fighter who will lead them to victory. And Laxalt’s less-than-stellar campaigns in 2014 and 2018 are legitimate causes for doubt.
Brown, as a newbie candidate, must demonstrate he has the political chops to be an effective candidate on the campaign trail. Laxalt must demonstrate that he’s not going to be the same sub-standard candidate he’s been in the past.
So while Brown and Laxalt are going to burn through a ton of money in the primary as St. Catherine sits up on her incumbent perch and watches the carnage, both candidates NEED this competitive primary to sharpen their political skills.
Because it’s not necessarily the best candidate who wins, but the best campaign.
Yes, conventional wisdom says Laxalt should breeze through this primary. He’s got all the assets an establishment candidate could ever want.
But don’t dismiss Brown out of hand. He’s been counted out before…and he’s still standing. This is one tough SOB.
Gentlemen, let’s have a clean fight. Protect yourselves at all times. Touch gloves, return to your corner and wait for the bell.
Ding, ding, ding!
P.S. Let’s go, Brandon!
The Sisolak Shuffle
In an interview with Bill Dentzer published in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal, failed Nevada Democrat Gov. Steven von Sisolak said of his COVID-related decisions: “I know that I did the best job I possibly can.”
Yeah, um, that’s the problem. Just ask any of the tens of thousands who couldn’t get their unemployment benefits from DETR after losing their jobs thanks to the Sisolak Shutdown.
The Emperor also said: “I’ve never focused any decisions that I’ve made as relates to COVID on re-election.”
His nose immediately grew nine inches longer.
Let’s go, Brandon!
* Front page headline in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Inflations Soars in U.S.”
Headline in today’s Las Vegas Sun: “Food, Gas, Housing Prices Continue to Climb Higher.”
Let’s Go, Brandon!
* The Chicago police officers union is urging cops to defy the city’s order that they prove they’ve gotten the COVID vaccine by Friday or be placed on unpaid leave. Thank goodness Chicago doesn’t have a crime problem.
Let’s Go, Brandon!
* I continue to be impressed by the communications operation of the Carson City Republican Party under Chairman Scott Hoen…and I don’t say that very often about very many GOP organizations. Excellent, informative, well-organized e-newsletters and social media posts.
Keep it up, Chairman and…Let’s Go, Brandon!
* Congratulations are in order for our friend and political ally Julie Walburn who has been promoted to Vice President of Public Affairs at Red Rock Strategies. She’s one of the good guys and pretty darned smart, too.
Let’s Go, Brandon!
Explanation for “Let’s Go, Brandon!”
For those of you don’t understand the “Let’s Go Brandon!” posts on social media and elsewhere, here’s the Readers Digest explanation…
During a post-NASCAR race interview with the winner, Brandon Brown, at the Talladega Speedway a couple weeks ago, the fans in the stands could clearly be heard loudly chanting, “F*** Joe Biden!”
Doing the normal fake news damage control, the NBC reporterette claimed, falsely and on air, that the crowd was chanting, “Let’s go, Brandon!” So now there’s a family-friendly way to say “F*** Joe Biden!”
Let’s Go Brandon!”
Next Week’s Campaign Boot Camp
GOP candidates complaining about not being able to raise money for their campaigns who did not attend last night’s “High Dollar Fundraising” workshop at the Campaign Boot Camp really have no one to blame but themselves.
As the late Nevada Republican National Committeeman Bill Laub used to say, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him do the backstroke in your swimming pool.”
Coming up next week: A very special workshop on “Dealing with the Media.”
As those who attended the “15 Worst Mistakes of Losing Candidates” workshop a couple weeks ago know, #13 is: “Whining About ‘Liberal Bias’ in the Media.”
This workshop will show you what to do instead.
Oh, oh…and here’s a surprise!
Joining me for the workshop will be a very prominent, longtime newspaper veteran to provide an insider’s look at this issue. And yes, my surprise guest and I will absolutely be talking about the recent (and foolish) run-in a certain major GOP candidate in Nevada had with a certain Reno Gazette-Journal reporter on the campaign trail.
This workshop is free and will be held at the Ahern Freedom Hotel from 6:00 – 8:00 pm on Wednesday, October 20, 2021.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“I get the overall point — corporations, unions and special interests make big donations to politicians and get access — but leading your fundraising email pitch by saying you can’t be bought and then immediately asking for money is a real record scratch moment.” – Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/14/21
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at MuthsTruths.com