Jim Hartman: It’s Brown vs. Rosen

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

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With primary election results final, retired U.S. Army Capt. Sam Brown easily won the Republican nomination in Nevada’s U.S. Senate race.

In the 12-candidate GOP field, Brown won with over 60% of the primary vote. He handily defeated runner-up Jeff Gunter, a wealthy dermatologist and a former Trump-appointed U.S. ambassador to Iceland, with 14.6%.

Brown was recruited for the race by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and was supported by Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo.

Former President Donald Trump gave Brown a last-minute social media endorsement late on June 9.

Incumbent Democrat Jacky Rosen coasted to renomination winning 91.5% of the vote against two political unknowns in the Democratic primary.

The primary result sets up a major battle in Nevada where the outcome could determine control of the U.S. Senate. Rosen’s seat is considered the best pick-up opportunity for Republicans outside of the red states of West Virginia, Montana and Ohio.

Senate Republicans need to win two seats to have a 51-vote majority.

In 2022, Nevada had the closest Senate race in the country, with Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto eking out a 7,928-ballot win over Republican Adam Laxalt.

Rosen has a lower political profile than that of Cortez Masto, Nevada’s senior senator.

A Chicago native, Rosen,66, moved to Las Vegas after graduating from the University of Minnesota. She started as a waitress, later worked as a computer programmer and volunteered as president of the Congregation Ner Tamid synagogue in Henderson.

In 2016, Rosen won an open Las Vegas-area House seat, and, after a single, two-year term, moved to the Senate in the 2018 election defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller by 5%.

In her re-election advertising, Rosen has emphasized bipartisanship. She joined Republicans on votes to freeze Iranian assets after the Hamas attack against Israel and in support of D.C. law enforcement by defeating punitive use of force legislation.

Rosen voted with President Biden’s position 92.5% during the 117th Congress and in the 118th Congress has voted with the president nearly 99% of the time.

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

Biden is unpopular in Nevada. A recent RCP polling average found Trump with a sizable 5.7% lead over Biden in Nevada (48.5% to 42.8%).

In the Senate race, a recent RCP polling average had Rosen leading Brown by 6% (44 % to 38%, with 22% undecided). The Cook Political Report has shifted the race from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss Up.”

Brown, 40, is a West Point graduate and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, earning a Purple Heart. He received an MBA from Southern Methodist University. He’s the great-grandson of NFL legend Paul Brown, the Cincinnati Bengals’ founder.

Moving to Nevada in 2018, Brown launched a small business providing emergency pharmaceutical support to veterans.

Nearly killed by a roadside bomb that scarred his face, Brown ran a spirited grassroots primary campaign against Laxalt in 2022, losing 56% to 34%. In 2014, Brown also ran unsuccessfully for the Texas legislature.

Brown seeks to make the 2024 race focused on inflation – the increased costs of groceries, gasoline and housing affordability.

He highlights the rising immigration crisis at the southern border and migrant crime.

In contrast, Rosen seeks to make the election focused on abortion, which has proven to be a potent turnout issue for Democrats.

She endorses an amendment on the November ballot to enshrine abortion rights in the Nevada constitution.

Rosen’s April advertising cast her as a centrist. She’s now made an unprecedented $14 million general election ad buy and leads Brown in the polls.

However, polls in Nevada have consistently shown Trump leading Biden. A Trump win could provide Brown enough coattails for a Senate upset.

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


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