Eight candidates are running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Nevada on June 14. Incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto (D) is running for re-election.
As of June 1, 2022, three election forecasters rated the general election as a Toss-up. Politico’s Sabrina Rodriguez wrote, “Republicans […] see Nevada as one of the prime states to pick up a Senate seat.”
Sam Brown and Adam Laxalt have led in polling and fundraising.
Former President Donald Trump (R), Sen. Ted Cruz (R), Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), and other national Republican figures have endorsed Laxalt, and Laxalt has made these endorsements a key part of his campaign message. At a May 9 debate, Laxalt said, “President Trump looked into a camera and said the only person that he can trust in this state is me, and that’s because I have stood consistently and concretely for our conservative values.”
Brown has the endorsement of the Nevada Republican Party. To win an official endorsement from the state party, a candidate needed to earn the support of more than 50% of the delegates present at the state convention, and the delegates could vote to endorse more than one candidate in the race. Brown received the vote of 80% of the delegates, and Laxalt received the vote of exactly 50%, below the threshold needed for an official endorsement. After the vote, Brown said, “I’m grateful to be the only U.S. Senate candidate to receive the endorsement of the Nevada Republican Party.”
Both Laxalt and Brown have highlighted inflation and immigration as key issues. On inflation, Laxalt has said he would reduce government spending and pursue energy independence, while Brown said the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates at a rapid pace.
On immigration, Laxalt’s website says he supports the Migrant Protection Protocols, a policy under which the U.S. returns to Mexico citizens and nationals of countries other than Mexico while their U.S. removal proceedings are processed. Brown has said the length of the immigration process should be expedited, but said he “opposed amnesty in any way, shape or form.”
Brown has accused Laxalt of ignoring instances of election fraud while serving as attorney general. At the May 9 debate, Brown told Laxalt, “You knew that in 2016, non-citizens did vote, and you did nothing about that. And then in 2020 […] the only thing you did was to file a lawsuit that, by your own admission, was late.” Laxalt responded by saying that it was the secretary of state’s responsibility to investigate voter fraud. He also criticized Brown for his ties to Texas, saying, “You were running in Texas and living in Texas when you’re accusing me of doing these things.”
Laxalt served as attorney general of Nevada from 2015 to 2019 and was the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2018, losing to Steve Sisolak (D) 49.4% to 45.3%. Laxalt is the grandson of former Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt (R) and the son of former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici (R).
Brown, a small business owner, served in the U.S. Army until 2011. In 2008, while deployed in Afghanistan, Brown was wounded by an IED explosion that injured his face. Brown has highlighted that experience and his recovery process throughout his campaign. Brown was a candidate for Texas House District 102 in 2014 before moving to Nevada in 2018.
William Conrad, William Hockstedler, Sharelle Mendenhall, Tyler Perkins, Carlo Poliak, and Paul Rodriguez are also running in the primary.