• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Sam Brown: Republicans get top recruit in Nevada to take on Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen

Sam Brown: Republicans get top recruit in Nevada to take on Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen


Sam Brown, a retired Army captain who was severely burned by the explosion of a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, announced his plans to enter Nevada’s Republican primary Monday to take on Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen next fall.

“It’s time for new leadership that values Nevada and not DC,” Brown said in an afternoon speech in which he touted his military service and tried to tie the Democratic incumbent to Washington.

“Right now, the American Dream is at risk. Joe Biden and Jacky Rosen promised to unite Americans and solve problems. Instead, they’ve abandoned Nevada and divided America with extreme policies to satisfy special interests in Washington,” Brown said in a statement earlier in the day. “As your Senator, I will get the job done for Nevada. I am ready to lead and fight for you again.”

Brown’s entry gives Republicans a significant recruit in what’s expected to be one of 2024’s most competitive states. Democrats hold a narrow majority in the Senate and are defending the lion’s share of seats expected to be competitive next year, including three in states former President Donald Trump carried twice. Nevada narrowly went blue in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.

National Republicans welcomed Brown’s campaign on Monday.

“Sam Brown’s life of service and sacrifice is an inspiration to all Americans,” GOP Sen. Steve Daines, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement. “I am very pleased that Sam is stepping up to run for the U.S. Senate.”

But before taking on Rosen, Brown would first have to win what could be a competitive GOP primary. His best-known opponent is former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant, who has parroted debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud and lost races for the US House in 2020 and Nevada secretary of state in 2022.

The primary will test whether Republican voters remain hungry for candidates like Marchant, who have embraced election denialism – even at the cost of electability in November – or whether the GOP electorate is seeking contenders who could appeal to independents.

Brown first emerged on the Nevada political scene in the 2022 cycle, when his grassroots Senate campaign – under the slogan “duty first” – won him admirers on the way to a second-place finish in the GOP primary. The winner, former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, went on to lose narrowly to Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in the general election.

Brown is still somewhat of a political newcomer. He lost a state legislative race in Texas in 2014. He was not a significant figure in the political landscape of Nevada, where he moved in 2018, until his 2022 Senate bid picked up momentum in the primary’s closing months.

Rosen unseated Republican Sen. Dean Heller in 2018 after a term in the House representing a suburban Las Vegas seat. Her campaign announced Monday it had stockpiled nearly $7.5 million as of June 30, the end of the second quarter, which it touted as a state record.

“Nevada is always a battleground, and this Senate race will be on the toughest in the country,” Rosen said in an April video announcing her bid for a second term.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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