Jim Hartman: Sen. Jacky Rosen vs. who in 2024?

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

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On April 5, Nevada’s junior U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, 65, announced for re-election.

Rosen’s race in 2024 is expected to be tight.

In 2022, Nevada had the closest Senate race in the country when Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto eked out a win over Republican Adam Laxalt by 7,928 votes.

A liberal Democrat, Rosen was ranked the ninth-most bipartisan in the 2021 congressional session. Her political profile is much less visible than that of Cortez Masto, Nevada’s senior senator.

Rosen raised $2.4 million in the first quarter of 2023, giving her $6 million in her campaign account as she begins her re-election bid.

A Chicago native, Rosen moved to Las Vegas in 1980.

Rosen is a product of the “Reid Machine.”

A computer programmer and synagogue president with no political experience, Rosen was personally recruited by Harry Reid to run for Congress in 2016 and the Senate in 2018. Reid cleared the Democratic field for her in both races.

In 2016, Rosen narrowly defeated Republican Danny Tarkanian for a Las Vegas-area House seat. In 2018, she beat Republican Sen. Dean Heller by a 5% margin.

Rosen’s thin resume, brief tenure in office and relative political obscurity leaves her vulnerable to a credible Republican challenger.

In 2024, Senate Democrats must defend 23 seats, eight of which are considered highly competitive by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Republicans must defend only 11 seats none of which classify as highly competitive.

GOP leaders want to ensure they get strong candidates to run – or risk another disappointing election and two more years in the minority.

In 2022, Republicans thought a “red wave” would sweep them to power, but fell short. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) pointedly cited “candidate quality” for defeats, leaving Democrats with a 51-49 majority.

Three prominent Nevada Republicans — Rep. Mark Amodei, former Attorney General Laxalt and former Gov. Brian Sandoval – have taken themselves out of the Senate race.

Far-right Republican former Assemblyman Jim Marchant, 66, has announced his candidacy.

In 2018, Marchant lost his Assembly seat. In 2020, he lost for Congress.

In 2022, Marchant lost a race for Secretary of State to a political neophyte, Democrat Cisco Aguilar.

Marchant championed baseless election fraud claims. He falsely asserted Nevadans’ votes have not counted for years and alleged that a global “cabal” has been manipulating voting machines.

As a three time loser, do Nevada Republicans believe Marchant could beat Rosen?

Democrats are giddy at the prospect of Marchant being the GOP Senate nominee – expect them to meddle on his behalf in the GOP Senate primary.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is recruiting retired U.S. Army Capt. Sam Brown to run against Rosen.

Brown, 39, who suffered severe burns during a deployment in Afghanistan, ran a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful Senate primary campaign in 2022, losing to Laxalt (56% to 34%.)

Purple Heart recipient and West Point graduate, Brown excited grassroots conservative Republicans with small-dollar donors powering his campaign. He won the endorsement of the Nevada Republican Party.

A strong conservative, Brown’s political positions are in line with the GOP base.

After retiring from the Army in 2011, Brown and his wife started a small business in Texas, moving to Reno in 2018.

Brown is the great grandson of NFL legend Paul Brown, Cincinnati Bengals’ founder.

Unlikely to run, but likely the most electable Republican in the general election is a woman – Nevada Senate GOP Leader Heidi Seevers Gansert.

Gansert, 60, served in the Assembly six years (GOP leader 2009-10), the Senate for six years, and was Gov. Sandoval’s chief-of-staff (2010-12).

A fourth-generation Nevadan and Reno native, Gansert has won five elections with a moderate-conservative appeal to the largest voting segment, non-partisan voters.

Marchant’s a virtual certain loser against Rosen. If Brown’s the GOP nominee, expect a competitive race.

E-mail Jim Hartman at lawdocman1@aol.com.


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