The Hill reports today on the increasingly crowded and chaotic field of Republican politicians now running for Senate in Nevada this cycle: “The growing number of candidates is complicating Senate Republicans’ efforts to avoid a messy GOP primary that would risk leaving the eventual nominee bruised going into next fall… Some Republicans worry the crowded field could leave the party divided heading into the general election.”
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The Hill: Nevada Senate GOP field swells amid push to oust Jacky Rosen
By Caroline Vakil and Al Weaver
- Republicans are bracing for a crowded field in the Nevada Senate race to take on Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) as the party looks to win back the majority in the upper chamber next fall.
- While Senate Republicans landed their top recruit to take on Rosen — retired Army Capt. Sam Brown — that has not dissuaded several other GOP candidates from throwing their hat in the ring, with two doing so this week: Jeff Gunter, the former U.S. ambassador to Iceland, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tony Grady, who lost a primary bid for lieutenant governor in 2022. Former Nevada Secretary of State candidate Jim Marchant launched his campaign in May.
- The growing number of candidates is complicating Senate Republicans’ efforts to avoid a messy GOP primary that would risk leaving the eventual nominee bruised going into next fall.
- “Sam’s got his work cut out for him,” the operative continued. “He’s going to have to work for it. It’s not going to be a coronation.”
- Brown ran for Nevada Senate last cycle, before later losing to Republican Adam Laxalt in the GOP primary.
- But Senate Republicans are starting to coalesce around Brown this cycle. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the NRSC’s chairman, has all but endorsed Brown in name, saying in a statement upon his launch that he was “very pleased” to see the Army vet in the race. Members of Senate GOP leadership — Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) — have also backed Brown’s candidacy.
- But Brown’s candidacy hasn’t stopped others from entering the primary field. In addition to campaigns launched by Grady, Gunter and Marchant, several other Republicans have launched long-shot bids for the seat. Some Republicans worry the crowded field could leave the party divided heading into the general election.
- “Republicans are not coming out of these primaries unified. They’re generally coming out of these primaries very splintered, and that splintering, as much as how people perceive the candidate, has been a huge problem,” Moyle said.
- A second GOP operative with Nevada ties specifically argued Gunter is the only candidate other than Brown with much of a shot of winning the primary, pointing to his unique ability of the candidates to self-fund his campaign.
- Gunter is also expected to push hard for former President Trump’s endorsement and align himself closely with him, having appeared at Trump’s Bedminster, N.J., speech after being indicted for his alleged mishandling of classified documents.
- “All of these Republican candidates carry disqualifying vulnerabilities and positions that are out-of-step with Nevada voters. This messy intraparty fight will leave their ultimate nominee damaged,” said Amanda Sherman Baity, spokeswoman for the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm in a statement.
- At the same time, Republicans are clear-eyed that dethroning Rosen, who starts the third fundraising quarter this year with roughly $7.5 million cash on hand, will be no easy feat.
- “Rosen’s tough. … There’s nothing [to attack her on],” the operative noted, pointing specifically to the struggles incurred by former Sen. Dean Heller’s (R-Nev.) team when messaging against Rosen in 2018.