(Chuck Muth) – In 2014, Adam Laxalt won a race he should have lost – benefitting from the “red wave” that barely put him in the attorney general’s office. And in 2018 he lost a race for governor he should have won.
No wonder so many Nevada conservatives are looking for someone else to hitch their wagon to in next year’s U.S. Senate campaign. And why so many are starting to rally behind Sam Brown.
Indeed, as Sam’s campaign train gathers steam, the Laxalt balloon of “inevitability” is quickly losing altitude.
And while I’m well-acquainted with Adam, I’d never had a conversation with Sam and had a lot of questions.
Is he the real deal? Is there more to him as a candidate than his gut-wrenching story of being blown up and set on fire in an IED attack in Afghanistan? Can he put together a professionally-run campaign? Can he raise the money needed? But most importantly…
Can he win?
Over the past two days I had two private, no-holds-barred meetings with Sam over at the Ahern Hotel. I put him through the ringer. No questions were off the table. And here’s some of what I learned…
1.) Yes, it’s true that he ran for a state legislative seat in Texas six years ago and lost. That’s an obvious concern, so I asked about the circumstances surrounding that campaign. And now that I know the details, I’m not concerned. Here’s why…
“First-time candidates, if they are smart, are much more effective in their second bid for office,” wrote veteran campaign strategist Roger Stone in his book, Stone’s Rules. “Running a losing effort teaches a candidate how the political system and the media work and prepares them to be a better candidate.”
Say whatever else you will about Sam, there’s no denying the man is smart. You don’t graduate from West Point otherwise.
And yes, he learned a hard lesson in that first race about the incompetent consultant grifters out there who only saw him as a cash cow/meal ticket. He’s already fixed that problem. I know of the consultants he’s retained for this Senate race and they are well-established and competent.
2.) Can he raise the money needed?
Very interesting response. Sam pointed out something that even few “professional” consultants recognize; that campaigns can hit a saturation point where the additional money doesn’t actually make a difference.
Indeed – as I’ve taught candidates for years in my campaign training seminars – it’s not necessarily necessary for candidates to match their opponent dollar-for-dollar. They just need to raise ENOUGH money to get their message out to enough target voters at the right time.
Sam shared with me how much money his campaign has raised since he announced his candidacy in June; however, I agreed not to share it at this time. Let me just say, yeah…it’s substantial. And it keeps coming in as more and more learn about him and his campaign.
3.) As for being a relative newcomer to Nevada, Sam notes he chose to move his family to Reno from Dallas just a couple years after Adam moved here. He simply wanted a better life for his wife, three kids and their dog, not for political reasons.
In fact, when they moved to Nevada Sam had pretty much given up on the idea of running for office again. Instead, he simply volunteered to knock doors on behalf of President Trump in 2020.
Then Joe Biden stumbled accidentally into the Oval Office.
And we all know how THAT’S turned out.
And that’s why Sam decided to run for U.S. Senate. Not to *be* a senator and hob-nob with the DC political establishment, but to stop the destructive direction Biden and the Democrats are taking our country.
I believe him.
Again, much of our conversations were private and confidential so I won’t share them here. But I’m sure Sam will address other questions you might have on the campaign trail. However, I did want to mention one other issue…
A Muth’s Truths reader emailed asking whether Sam had endorsed Carrie Buck for Clark County GOP chairman at the aborted July 20 meeting. So I asked.
Sam told me it wasn’t true; that he had only referenced Byron Brooks – Carrie’s running mate for vice-chairman – in his remarks as a fellow military member of the “band of brothers.” Otherwise, he did not get involved in any way, shape, form or fashion in that intra-party feud.
After our meeting, I dialed up a video of Sam’s remarks at that meeting on Facebook and can confirm his account is true. That’s exactly what he said and nothing more.
Acknowledging that it’s still a long way until filing for office opens next March, and an even longer time before the June primary, here are some conclusions I’ve come to after our meetings…
Can Sam beat Laxalt in the primary? Uphill battle, but yes, I believe he can if he puts the right campaign together.
Can Sam beat incumbent Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto-Reid in the general? Again, uphill battle, but yes, I believe if he puts the right campaign together he can.
The most important question…
Would Sam have a better chance to beat St. Catherine in the general than Laxalt? Yes, I believe so.
Sam has faced far more difficult challenges than a political campaign. Lethal challenges with deadly consequences. So he sure as hell can handle this.
Bottom Line: Of the three, which candidate do I believe would best represent and defend the interests of me, my family and the state of Nevada?
If the election were held today, I’d vote for Sam Brown in a New York minute. But we’ll have to wait and see how things progress between now and Election Day.
In the meantime, here’s a sampling of some of the emails I received after Sam’s FOX News interview with Sean Hannity Tuesday night…
- “Thank you for providing the Hannity link since I had missed the interview last night. Now I understand why Laura (Ingraham) was so excited. I’m starting to see a ray of hope. My wife and I have said for years we need for more veterans and fewer politicians to run for public office. Will certainly keep an eye on his progress.”
- “Chuck: Thanks for using your platform to spread the word. I caught the Hannity segment and the handover to Ingraham last night, and was impressed with Sam Brown. Tell Sam to crank it up and he will be surprised by the number of grass roots people ready to buck the machine.”
- “Chuck – another GREAT column. Adam is the cherished son of a favored family – and candidates like that rarely go well. He’s lackluster, has little personality, and by his performance, has little taste for real politics!! Thanks for pointing out Sam to all of us – maybe we can catch lightning in a bottle!!”
- “Mr. Muth, Sam Brown definitely has this family’s votes; all three of us are military veterans. We know the training military veterans go through, its country first then GOD and family. I feel we have a winner with Captain Sam Brown. OORAH.”
- “Chuck: Thank you, finally someone I can support. Love this guy!”
- “Chuck, I’m impressed with Captain Sam Brown. Some friends of mine and I will throw our support in for him. We need new blood in the Nevada Republican Party. Willing to give him a chance.”
- “Hi Chuck. We got a good one for sure with Sam Brown!! I think a lot of people will gladly support him, and not just with a few bucks!”
- “As for Laxalt, praying to GOD we get someone else. Sam Brown is my choice at this time to win the primary then on to the general. The establishment picks and chooses their cronies and we stand by and let them. NO MORE! Losing 3 in a row is unacceptable!”
- “Thank you for your insights on Laxalt vs. Sam Brown. I resigned from the Republican Party in 2015 when we gave them assembly, senate and Governor and they passed the biggest tax hike in NV history. It’s NOT forgotten. … A smart Laxalt will drop out fast and endorse and campaign for Brown.”
- “I had the good fortune to be at SAM BROWN’S launch at Palo Verde High School a few months back. What’s not to be impressed about? … He is rising to the occasion and showing us what we already knew about him. He’s a survivor & wants the military and the United States to reclaim their proud position in the world. He wants career politicians to move aside.”
- “Sam Brown has my vote!”
- “I will jump on the (Sam Brown) bandwagon. The Laxalt-Heller team just doesn’t cut it. In order to beat Masto-Sisolak, we need candidates with fire in their belly, not timid reruns of McCain and Romney’s ‘Obama’s a nice guy’ routine. Nevada needs Republicans who are passionate about extracting Democrats from power. … Nevada needs bold candidates who will fight and want to win with every fiber of their being.”
- “I’ve been a registered independent as I have no more use for the Republicans than I do for the dems. After seeing what (Sam) has to say, I may well be registering Republican so I can vote for him.”
- “Sam Brown will now be my guy and I will donate and try to volunteer for him as I can.”
- “We need new blood in the government and not some family passdown politician. … (Laxalt) is in it for himself and screw the people. … I realize that he has Trumps support but I wrote a note to Trump and also Trump Jr with my thoughts. I wish you would do so also. I don’t know if they will get them or not, but we need to help Trump out as he is being hoodwinked by the Rep Party again.”
- “@CaptainSamBrown is an honorable, sincere man. He’s the kind of leader Gen. George Washington would have embraced as a member of the Continental Army. @AdamLaxalt, not so much. Too bad @RichardGrenell battered NV’s beloved @ChuckMuth for the #DailyLaxaltLaxative. #BigMistake.”
Ya think Team Laxalt is feeling a disturbance in the Force yet?
And yes, I promise I’ll be getting to the CD3 shenanigans soon. I haven’t forgotten. It’s just that this Brown vs. Laxalt stuff came up unexpectedly. Stay tuned.
And, oh, yes…I’ll be weighing in on yesterday’s court ruling overturning Jesse Law’s election as Clark County GOP chairman. For now, just know it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. And it ain’t over.
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Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views and blogs at MuthsTruths.com