LAS VEGAS – First Republicans were saying “Make America Great Again.” Now, they’re saying “Make Nevada Red Again.”
Flipping the state of Nevada from blue to red this midterm season has been a focus of U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt’s campaign.
“We have the chance to make Nevada red again,” said Laxalt, former attorney general of Nevada from 2015 to 2019.
Former Nevada attorney general Adam Laxalt campaigns for the 2022 GOP Senate nomination in the key western battleground state.
(Adam Laxalt Senate campaign)
Prominent Republicans have endorsed Laxalt, including former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis made an appearance at a “Rise Up” rally in support of Laxalt Wednesday evening.
The two are confident Nevadans will vote red in November.
“We’re rising up, and the wave is coming. People are trying to take our country back, and we’re putting some wins on the board,” Laxalt said.
DeSantis said he doesn’t usually campaign for candidates outside of Florida, but Laxalt was an exception given what’s at stake – inflation, illegal immigration and election integrity, just to name a few.
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rallied in support of U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Wednesday, April 27.(Ashley Soriano/Fox News)
On immigration, DeSantis threatened to bus undocumented people illegally entering the U.S. to Delaware, which is the state President Joe Biden represented as a U.S. senator for nearly four decades until becoming Vice President under former President Barack Obama.
“If Biden is busing illegal aliens in the state of Florida, I am rerouting them to Delaware,” DeSantis said.
Pundits see DeSantis as a likely 2024 presidential contender, and Nevada is the fourth state to vote in the GOP’s presidential nominating calendar.
At Laxalt’s Wednesday rally, DeSantis touted his state’s voting laws, following nationwide claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
He also slammed President Biden and the current state of the economy.
“I’m afraid that Biden’s going to plunge us into a recession,” DeSantis said. “At the end of the day, the inflation is Biden-flation. It is on him for his bad policies.”
Sen. Cruz also joined Laxalt’s campaign trail, speaking at one of his rallies last Friday.
“I’m here to tell you, Nevada is turning red,” Sen. Cruz said. “November is not just going to be a red wave. November is going to be a tidal wave. It’s going to be a tsunami.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joined candidate Adam Laxalt at a "Rise Up" rally Friday, April 22. (Ashley Soriano/Fox News)
Laxalt’s opponent is incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto, who has held the seat since 2015. Cortez Masto was also Laxalt’s predecessor as Nevada’s attorney general from 2007 to 2015.
Cortez Masto campaign spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank issued a fiery statement to Fox News: “Catherine has always stood with Nevada law enforcement, working closely with our officers as attorney general, passing a bill signed into law by Trump to combat law enforcement suicide and most recently securing a historic, bipartisan investment in Nevada’s local police departments that Adam Laxalt opposes. Even worse, Laxalt has a history of assaulting a police officer and then lying about it. Laxalt is a sleazy politician Nevadans can’t trust.”
Laxalt previously said the assault charges, related to an incident in 1996, ultimately were dismissed. “When I was 17, I was at a friend’s house when police suddenly started to enter and I reacted the wrong way—trying to keep them from coming in and asking for a warrant,” Laxalt told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Today, as a law enforcement officer, I understand they were just doing their jobs.”
In the 2016 general election, 47% of Nevadan voters cast their ballot for Cortez Masto, compared to nearly 45% for her opponent at the time. All but one of the 17 counties in the state voted Republican. Clark County, which includes the city of Las Vegas, carried the Democratic vote, accounting for a majority of Cortez Masto’s votes.
The seat is a six-year term. This is the first time since Trump took office that this Senate seat is up for re-election.
Slamming his opponent has been a focus of Laxalt’s campaign. In the past, he has said Cortez Masto, who is Latina, has abandoned her constituents, especially Hispanic voters.
Laxalt held a “Latinos for Laxalt” event in early March, saying at the time, “[Cortez Masto] feels entitled to that vote. We need to ask her what has she done to support the Latino community in Nevada.”
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Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., listens as Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland testifies during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Department of the Interior budget on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
He says Latinos are “fed up” with the Democratic Party.
In addition to swaying the Latino vote, Laxalt is calling for a secure border, a stable economy and a tough-on-crime approach.
On immigration, Laxalt placed some blame on his opponent Cortez Masto at his Wednesday rally.
“Our law enforcement across the border can’t handle this. They’ve got no support from the federal government,” Laxalt said. “They’ve got no support from Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, which is why we’re going to throw her out.”
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Laxalt also ran for Nevada governor in 2018, gaining 45% of votes. Current Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), who is running for re-election, won at the time with nearly 50% of votes. Only two counties – Washoe and Clark – voted blue in this election, and still, the Democratic candidate prevailed.
Laxalt and his backers are hoping for a different outcome this November.
Ashley Soriano joined Fox News in 2021 as a multimedia reporter based in Las Vegas.