Laxalt under fire amid arrest report
October 2, 2018
RENO — Democrats are calling on Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt to release his bar association application and full criminal record after the Republican gubernatorial nominee acknowledged he was a "reckless and foolish" teen when he was arrested for assaulting a police officer more than 20 years ago in Virginia.
Records obtained by the Reno Gazette Journal from the city of Alexandria show Laxalt was taken into custody for underage drinking in 1996.
A 17-year-old Laxalt was drinking at a woman's house when officers were called, according to the report. After police entered the residence, Laxalt said he "reacted the wrong way" and tried to keep police from coming into the home. "Today, as a law enforcement officer, I understand they were just doing their jobs," he said.
That and other alcohol-related incidents prompted him to get sober, he said.
Laxalt is facing Democrat Steve Sisolak in one of the most competitive, closely-watched gubernatorial races in the country.
Nevada Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II demanded that Laxalt release his full bar application and full criminal record because of the newspaper report.
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"These revelations about Adam Laxalt's criminal history are incredibly concerning, and even more concerning is the fact that Laxalt has failed to come clean about his record until just now," McCurdy said.
Nevada is one of 26 Republican-held governors' offices up for grabs this year and one of eight where Hillary Clinton won the presidential vote over Donald Trump in 2016. The incumbent, moderate GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval is term-limited.
Sandoval has refused to endorse Laxalt in his race against Sisolak, chairman of the local governing body for Clark County, which is home to about two-thirds of the state's population.
Trump has endorsed Laxalt, a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, who handily won the GOP primary. Laxalt is the 39-year-old grandson of the late Paul Laxalt, a former U.S. senator and Nevada governor.
Laxalt has been public about his struggle with alcoholism. He was arrested for driving under the influence in Virginia in 1997 and entered a rehabilitation program at age 18.
"As a teenager, I was often reckless and foolish. I've never shied away from telling that story," Laxalt said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Monday. "I got my life back, and now I want to help others do the same. It's why I've worked to help others battle addiction and pursue lives of purpose and dignity."
"If I could go back and knock some sense into that drunk teenager I would," Laxalt said.
Other report summaries obtained by authorities in Alexandria, where Laxalt was raised, show that Laxalt was the alleged victim in three reported criminal incidents between 1992 and 1994. He and his family were the victims of grand larceny in 1992 as well as a statutory burglary charge in 1994, the Gazette Journal reported.
"As a kid, he got his bike, jacket and other property stolen and then filed police reports," Laxalt spokesman Parker Briden said Monday in an email to the AP.
Sisolak beat a challenger from the left during the primary and has pledged to stand up to Trump and the National Rifle Association while defending Planned Parenthood.
Laxalt wants to repeal a state commerce tax on businesses grossing more than $4 million annually that Sandoval pushed through the Nevada Legislature in 2015. Nevada is a political battleground state where the two major parties split control of the Legislature.
Laxalt's campaign declined to comment Monday on the call for release of his bar application and complete criminal record.
"Adam has been very open about the factors that led to his decision as a teenager — getting sober and turning his life around," Briden said in an email to the AP.
Sisolak campaign spokesman Grigsby Crawford declined comment on Monday.
Laxalt's arrest report comes after the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in July that the Democratic candidate vying for the state attorney general position, Nevada Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, was arrested four times in Texas in the 1990s.
The arrests were related to public intoxication, theft and failing to appear in court. The charges are cited in campaign ads for Republican attorney general hopeful Wes Duncan.
Democrats have defended Ford, arguing that the arrests happened while he was a college student in his early 20s.
They pointed out that the Republican Attorneys General Association, which paid for the attack ads against Ford, still stood by Laxalt despite his DUI arrest in 1997.