June 21st, 2024

Retired Army Capt. Sam Brown overcomes crowded GOP Senate primary field, setting up key Nevada race

By Gabe Stern, The Associated Press on June 11, 2024.

RENO, Nev. (AP) – Republican Sam Brown overcame a crowded field of primary opponents to win Nevada’s GOP U.S. Senate primary on Tuesday, setting up a fierce general election battle against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen that could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate.

Brown, a retired Army captain making his second try in two years for the U.S. Senate, emerged from a field of 12 Republicans to challenge Rosen, a first-term moderate in a presidential battleground state and one of the GOP’s top targets in 2024. Democrats are defending far more Senate seats than Republicans this year as they look to maintain their narrow Senate majority.

Brown held a decisive fundraising edge throughout the campaign and received a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump on Sunday. His compelling personal story – Brown was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and spent months in recovery – is a cornerstone of his campaign.

Trump’s endorsement came as a blow to several opponents who had angled to align themselves with the former president, including Trump’s ambassador to Iceland, dermatologist Jeff Gunter.

When Brown launched his candidacy in Sparks, just outside of Reno, nearly a year ago, he recounted his military background and devotion to family and cast himself as an outsider fighting against “Rosen and her D.C. friends.”

Several of his Republican opponents tried to turn the tables on him, chastising him for skipping debates and calling him the hand-picked establishment candidate. Those criticisms echoed Brown’s own messaging from two years ago, when he ran in the Republican primary against Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. Laxalt defeated Brown in the primary but then lost to Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto by 8,000 votes, clinching the Senate majority for Democrats.

Brown was recruited by national Republicans looking to avoid a repeat of their lackluster showing in the 2022 midterms.

Abortion is expected to be a central issue in the general election campaign. Rosen has repeatedly referenced Brown’s support for Texas’ 20-week abortion ban while running for a seat in the Texas Legislature in 2014.

Earlier this year, Brown sat with his wife, Amy, as she revealed in an interview with NBC News that she had undergone an abortion in Texas before they met. Brown, backing off from his previously unequivocal anti-abortion rhetoric, said he opposed a federal abortion ban and believed the question should be left to the states.

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