SPARKS — Attorney General Adam Laxalt on Wednesday made official the worst-kept political secret in Nevada: he’s running for governor.
Laxalt, 39, made the announcement at a press conference in Las Vegas kicking off a seven-day tour of the state in which he said he will share his vision for Nevada in each of the 17 counties.
“I am running for governor so that the dreams of Nevadans can ensure and thrive beyond this generation and into the next,” he said in a statement.
He repeated the announcement four hours later at a press conference in the Peterbilt dealership in east Sparks, telling about 75 supporters he has kept his campaign promises as Attorney General and will do so if elected to succeed Gov. Brian Sandoval who’s termed out at the end of 2018.
“Your leaders should do what they say they will do,” he said adding far too many politicians run on a platform of promises they never keep.
Laxalt has been rumored planning a gubernatorial run practically since taking the oath of office as Attorney General three years ago and has spent a significant amount of time at political fundraisers. His most recent campaign contributions report says he had nearly $1.2 million on hand as of January.
Listing his achievements, Laxalt said he founded the first elder fraud unit in the AG’s office, which resulted in the largest guardianship prosecution in state history. He said he founded the military assistance unit dedicated to helping veterans get the services legal and otherwise they deserve. He said he has fought relentlessly against what he describes as federal overreach in imposing mandates and regulations on states including the sage grouse deal with the federal government other state leaders have praised as protecting state control over that issue.
He said he was “disgusted” by the discovery of more than 8,000 untested sexual assault kits in Nevada, some of them decades old, and has battled since to get legislation mandating testing, helping to pay for those tests through settlement funds his office has received.
He said he has saved the state more than $30 million.
Laxalt almost immediately received the endorsement of Sen. Dean Heller as well as State Senator Heidi Gansert of Reno who helped introduce him in Sparks.
“As Attorney General, Adam Laxalt has been a trusted ally of the military community, protected seniors from fraud and abuse and stood up for taxpayers,” Heller said in a statement.
The announcements in Las Vegas and Sparks were the first in a series over the coming week. Laxalt said he will visit all 17 Nevada counties to share his vision of Nevada’s future.
He said that vision will try to make Nevada the most economically competitive state in the west. He said it will also build on education reforms because Nevada’s workforce, “has the education to compete for jobs.”
He said if Nevadans elect him, “I will work hard every day to make Nevada’s next chapter on that is safe, prosperous and filled with opportunity.”
He talked extensively about his struggles with alcoholism in his teens and how his faith helped him recover. He credited his mother Michelle for helping him turn his life around and said after that point, he tried to model his career and philosophy after his grandfather, Paul Laxalt who was Nevada governor and a U.S. senator.
He also said his service in the Navy helped make him the man he is today.
Laxalt has made it clear he opposes and wants to repeal the commerce tax on the gross receipts of big business. Sandoval and lawmakers passed that tax in 2015 to help boost K-12 education funding.
Laxalt is the second major Republican figure to announce a run for governor. The other is State Treasurer Dan Schwartz.
The winner in that primary will face one of two Democratic Clark Count commissioners: Steve Sisolak or Chris Giunchigliani.
Laxalt will visit Yerington at 3:15 p.m. Saturday. He will be at Dini’s Lucky Club Casino, 45 N. Main Street.
Following the Yerington stop, Laxalt will be at the Frey Ranch Distillery at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday. The ranch is located at 1045 Dodge Lane in Fallon.