Jim Hartman: Laxalt vs. Cortez Masto – and Senate control

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF
The Senate race in Nevada will likely determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.
Senate control is expected to come down to three races: Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada. The party that wins two of those three is positioned to hold a narrow 51-seat Senate majority.
Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt is the grandson of the late conservative Nevada Republican icon, genial Paul Laxalt, who served as lieutenant governor (1963-67), governor (1967-71), and U.S. senator (1974-1987).
Paul Laxalt was Ronald Reagan’s closest political ally beginning after Reagan’s election as neighboring California governor in 1967. In Washington, Laxalt was dubbed President Reagan’s “First Friend” and served as general chairman of the Republican Party (1983-87).
Adam Laxalt’s father was New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, who had an extramarital affair with Adam’s 24-year-old mother, Michelle Laxalt. Michelle raised Adam on her own, with the identity of Adam’s father kept secret until 2013.
Born in Reno, Adam grew up in and around Washington, D.C., where his mother worked.
Adam Laxalt graduated from Georgetown Law School and worked for then-Under Secretary of State John Bolton. He spent five years in the U.S. Navy’s J.A.G. Corps including in Iraq and a stint at the U.S. Naval Academy as an assistant law professor.
Shortly after moving to Nevada, Laxalt left his law firm in 2014 to run for state attorney general. He was narrowly (less than 1%) elected in a statewide Republican “Red Wave.”
As Nevada’s attorney general, Laxalt sued the Obama administration over immigration enforcement, land management and labor rules.
In 2018, Laxalt ran for governor losing to then-Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak by 40,000 votes (4%).
Outgoing two-term GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval spurned Laxalt, declining to endorse him in the governor’s race, largely because Laxalt called for repeal of the Commerce Tax, funding education initiatives championed by Sandoval.
In 2016, Laxalt endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president in the Nevada primary, but backed Donald Trump after his nomination was secured. President Trump campaigned in Nevada (Elko) for Laxalt’s gubernatorial campaign in 2018.
In 2019, Laxalt was named Nevada co-chair of Trump’s re-election campaign.
After the 2020 election, Laxalt initiated lawsuits, did interviews and wrote opinion pieces claiming “thousands of illegal votes” had been cast in Nevada. None of these claims were proven in Nevada courts. Biden won by 33,596 votes (2.4%).
The Democratic nominee, U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, was elected in 2016 defeating Republican Rep. Joe Heck by 27,000 votes (2.4%). Heck carried 16 of Nevada’s 17 counties, losing only in Clark County. Cortez Masto became the first Nevada woman and first Latina ever to serve in the Senate.
Cortez Masto is a protégé of the late Sen. Harry Reid and was his handpicked replacement upon his Senate retirement in 2016. She relied on his vaunted “Reid Machine” to power election turnout of Democrats.
Cortez Masto is the daughter of the late Manny Cortez, a political figure in Southern Nevada and close associate of Reid.
First elected to the Clark County Commission in 1976, Manny Cortez served four terms through 1992. He later was the longtime head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Born In Las Vegas, Catherine Cortez Masto graduated from Gonzaga Law School and worked four years as a civil attorney in Las Vegas and two years as a criminal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., before being elected Nevada attorney general in 2006.
Cortez Masto was criticized in 2009 for partisan prosecutorial misconduct in the case of Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki on charges ultimately dropped. She was re-elected in 2010.
Cortez Masto’s Senate record has been as a loyal supporter of President Joe Biden.
Laxalt’s most compelling political case – he would be the 51st seat check on a radical far-left agenda from Democrats by preventing their control of the Senate.
E-mail Jim Hartman at lawdocman1@aol.com.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment