Jim Hartman: Nevada 2024 Senate race takes shape

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

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Incumbent U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) is expected to have a tough campaign for re-election in 2024.

Months away from the June 11, 2024 primary, eight Republican challengers have entered the race to oppose her.

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. That race saw more than $200 million in combined spending from candidates and outside groups.

With a closely divided U.S. Senate, Democrats (and aligned independents) have a slim 51-49 majority. Holding Rosen’s seat will be a top priority with the retirement of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and the expectation his seat will be won by a Republican.

Nevada is considered a battleground state and a target for Republicans.

Rosen’s political profile is much less visible than that of Cortez Masto, Nevada’s senior senator.

Born in Chicago, Rosen moved to Las Vegas in 1980. She was a computer programmer and served as president of her synagogue.

In 2016, Rosen was politically unknown when then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid recruited her to run for Congress. She narrowly defeated Republican Danny Tarkanian for a Las Vegas-area congressional seat.

Six months into her term in the House, she announced a bid for the Senate, with Reid clearing the field of any opponents.

In 2018, Rosen won an unexpected five-point victory over incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller.

Even Reid admitted Rosen was unknown before she ran for the Senate saying his recruit “didn’t really have a long resume, other than being a wonderful person.” Rosen remains little known to Nevadans.

Rosen boasts she’s one of the most bipartisan senators in the country. However, she voted in line with President Biden’s position 92.5 percent of the time during the 2021-22 Congress.

When Rosen touts her record, it’s almost exclusively the work she has done with Biden, saying she would happily campaign with him in Nevada.

Biden is deeply unpopular here. A Nov. 3 New York Times/Siena College poll found Biden would lose Nevada to Donald Trump by 10 points.

Rosen has proven fundraising prowess ending September with $8.83 million “cash on hand.”

Republicans are bullish on their chances in Nevada, but most analysts consider Rosen to be a slight favorite to win re-election.

Sam Brown, is the early favorite for the Republican Senate nomination.

Brown is a West Point graduate and veteran of the war in Afghanistan earning a Purple Heart. He’s the great-grandson of NFL legend Paul Brown, Cincinnati Bengals’ founder.

Brown ran a spirited grassroots Senate primary campaign in 2022 against Laxalt, losing 56% to 34% and then campaigned for Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo.

Brown is supported by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

At the end of September, Brown outpaced GOP candidates in fundraising, with $937,000 “cash on hand.”

Far-right former Assemblyman Jim Marchant is running.

Marchant has championed baseless election fraud claims including that a global “cabal” has been manipulating voting machines. He lost for State Assembly (2018); lost for Congress (2020); and, lost for Secretary of State (2022).

Marchant had only $36,000 “cash on hand.”

Tony Grady , Reno Air Races director of flight operations, U.S. Air Force veteran and unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in 2022, is making a favorable impression with grassroots Republicans.

Grady had $90,000 “cash on hand” and appears unable to compete with Brown in fundraising.

Jeff Gunter, a dermatologist and a former Trump-appointed U.S. ambassador to Iceland, is also running. He, like Marchant, has warmly embraced Trump, already donating thousands of dollars to Trump’s 2024 campaign.

Gunter had a rocky tenure as a diplomat and a history of Democratic voter registration in California. He had $319,000 “cash on hand.”

The four other Republicans in the race are Stephanie Phillips, Ronda Kennedy, Bill Conrad and Barry Lindemann.

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


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