Nevada Republican Sam Brown launching another Senate bid, teeing up marquee race

Brown lost the 2022 GOP primary to Adam Laxalt.

July 10, 2023, 7:09 AM

Nevada Republican Sam Brown is launching another Senate campaign on Monday, jumping into one of the 2024 cycle's marquee races as conservatives try to flip the chamber.

Brown, a retired Army captain, ran for the Senate in 2022 but lost in the primary to former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

Laxalt went on to lose to Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who clinched a second term last year.

Republicans are hopeful this go-round that Brown's military record, including being severely injured by an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008 that left him scarred, will help win over enough voters to take the 2024 seat, which first-term Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen flipped in 2018.

Brown is anticipated to lean heavily on his time in the military during his campaign, using his launch event to suggest his time serving would help make him an effective senator.

"Right now, the American dream is at risk. Joe Biden and Jacky Rosen promised to unite Americans and solve problems. Instead, they've abandoned Nevada and divided America with extreme policies to satisfy special interests in Washington," Brown will say, according to prepared remarks obtained by ABC News.

"I know our mission to restore the American dream is achievable if we work together. In the military, no one asks you what party you are in. They just want to know they can count on you to get the job done," Brown plans to say. "That's the attitude we need to tackle the problems of today."

Brown put up strong fundraising for a first-time candidate in 2022 and has been talked about as a potentially strong challenger to Rosen, including by party leaders in Washington.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, welcomed Brown's candidacy in a statement and said his "life of service and sacrifice is an inspiration to all Americans."

"Sam will enter the race as a front-runner for the primary this cycle, given his experience from 2022, his impressive donor file and apparently having picked up some support from Washington that he didn't have his last campaign," said Robert Uithoven, a Nevada GOP strategist who is unaffiliated with any Senate campaign in the state.

But first, Brown will have to win the GOP primary against Jim Marchant, a former state lawmaker and election conspiracy theorist who boasts some grassroots support but lost his bid for Nevada secretary of state in a landslide last year.

PHOTO: Republican Senate candidate, retired Army Capt. Sam Brown, thanks supporters while waiting for election results at his campaign office on June 14, 2022 in Reno, Nev.
Republican Senate candidate, retired Army Capt. Sam Brown, thanks supporters while waiting for election results at his campaign office on June 14, 2022 in Reno, Nev.
Josh Edelson/Getty Images

Republican candidates like Marchant, who embrace baseless allegations about elections, particularly the 2020 presidential race, have proven popular in some of their party's primaries.

Brown enters the race with conservative bona fides, saying during his 2022 campaign that he opposes abortion access. He also accused Laxalt last year of not doing enough to protect what he called "election integrity" while in office in 2016 and as a co-chair of Donald Trump's 2020 campaign in Nevada.

Some Republicans insist that Brown would be a more electable candidate than Marchant but warn that he should stay away from false claims about the results of the 2016 and 2020 elections -- particularly if Democrats reprise their strategy of seeking to elevate more controversial GOP candidates during primary season.

"Sam has to put enough distance between himself and the gadflies to make Democrats think twice about wasting their dollars," said Jeremy Hughes, a GOP strategist with extensive experience working in Nevada.

Democrats, meanwhile, are forecasting a "messy" Republican primary that will force the nominee to the right in a purple state.

"Between [Senate GOP Leader] Mitch McConnell's hand-picked candidate Sam Brown, MAGA election denier Jim Marchant, and a host of other far-right candidates eyeing a Senate run, Republicans are in for a messy primary that will expose their deeply flawed candidates as out of touch with hardworking Nevadans," Nevada state Democratic Party spokesperson Johanna Warshaw said.

Rosen's seat is one of several that Republicans are contesting next year as they try to dismantle Democrats 51-49 majority. Democratic-held seats in Montana, Ohio and West Virginia are among the GOP's top priorities, but seats in purple states like Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are also viewed as flip opportunities.

Republicans would only need to take back two seats if they lose the White House race and only one seat if President Joe Biden is also defeated.

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