Commentary

What’s Adam Laxalt? Chopped liver?

August 25, 2022 5:31 am

In Pennsylvania Dr. Oz has been taking a lot of heat for being a carpetbagger. To which Laxalt can legitimately say “hold my beer.” (Photo by Trevor Bexon/Getty Images)

For more than a year now Adam Laxalt has been proclaiming that after this year’s midterm elections, he – not Herschel Walker or Mehmet Oz or J.D. Vance – but he, Adam Laxalt, will be the 51st Republican senator, thus giving his party control of the chamber. 

At which point of course Republicans will do what even their favorite Democrat, the great and powerful Joe Manchin, couldn’t: Bring the entirety of the Biden/Democratic agenda to a screeching halt.

Who’s the single most important personage inhabiting our political firmament, the one and only person who by virtue of his very existence will save us all from the America-hating wokety woke radical liberal leftist lefties? Other than the Republicans who gerrymandered U.S. House seats in states all over the country, that is?

It’s that bright young rising (certainly not shooting!) star, Adam Laxalt, that’s who. Just ask him.

And yet, less than 80 days before the general election – and less than 60 days before early voting starts in Nevada – the national political press corps has been doing story after story after story (after story after story after story) about Republican candidates in the nation’s most important U.S. Senate races, and virtually all those stories have one thing in common.

No mention of Adam Laxalt.

Adding insult to injury, if those stories do mention anyone from Nevada (or currently possessing a Nevada mailing address anyway), often as not it’s not Laxalt, but Sharron Angle.

What’s up with that?

No celebrity (sniffle)

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell told a chamber of commerce in Kentucky last week when asked about his party’s prospects in the midterms. “Senate races are just different — they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” McConnell said.

The national press has assumed McConnell was referring to three Republican candidates in particular – Oz in Pennsylvania, Vance in Ohio, and Walker in Georgia – in part because polling shows each of them struggling to get and hold a lead against their Democratic opponents.

You know who else has been consistently trailing their Democratic opponent in the polls? Adam Laxalt. 

Nevada (population 3 million) is a much smaller electoral – and media – market than Pennsylvania (12.8 million), Ohio (11.7 million), or Georgia (10.5 million).

But Nevada still has just as many U.S. senators as Wyoming (population 584,309). Which is to say just as many senators as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Georgia: Two each. 

One Nevada branding enthusiast has even spent years and years tirelessly/tiresomely popularizing the hashtag #WeMatter. It may sound like an inadvertent acknowledgment that the state has an inferiority complex. But an estimated nine out of 10 states in the U.S. have an inferiority complex, so it just goes to show that #NoMatter what anybody anywhere else thinks, goshdarnit, Nevada is … also a state.

Since Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia and all the other states have the same number of senators, a number of them could be responsible for the 51st Republican. Or the 51st, 52nd, and 53rd Democrats, as the case may be. Each state counts the same. 

Sure, unlike Oz, Oprah never helped Laxalt become a celebrity quack doctor. 

Unlike Vance, Laxalt didn’t write a New York Times bestseller that one reviewer described as  “little more than a list of myths about welfare queens repackaged as a primer on the white working class” in which that class is admonished to quit its bellyaching and “lift up those bootstraps.” Although it sounds like something Laxalt would write.

And unlike Walker, Laxalt never had a 1,500 yard rushing season in the NFL, forgot to mention how many children he has (far as we know), or declared that he has met the enemy and it is trees.

Though it is obviously his fondest aspiration to be one someday, unlike Oz, Vance, and Walker, Laxalt, you see, is not a celebrity. Being the grandson of one U.S. senator and the son of another, he’s more of a curiosity.

But there is one quality Laxalt shares with those name-brand Republican Senate aspirants.

‘Candidate quality’

Laxalt, a state co-chair of Trump’s 2020 campaign, was Nevada’s earliest and most high-profile peddler of the Big Lie.

Two weeks after the 2020 election the Las Vegas Review-Journal published an op-ed from Laxalt in which he asserted there were  “thousands of illegal votes consisting of a combination of dead voters, out-of-state voters, double voters (those who cast ballots in Nevada and another state), among other improper votes.” 

A weary world awaits credible evidence backing up Laxalt’s claims to this very day.

Granted, Republican candidates who say Trump won the 2020 election (whether they believe it or not) are a dime a dishonored dozen. 

But how many of them have also denied the outcome of the 2022 election, hmm? Because Laxalt has (only if he loses of course). Have Oz, Vance, or Walker done that? No? RINOs.

Unlike Oz, Vance and Walker, Laxalt did get elected to something once. He won the race for attorney general in 2014 – a fluke year when Harry Reid forgot to tell his Nevada Democratic Party that there was an election. 

Four years later Laxalt was the first Republican to lose a race for Nevada governor in 24 years. During that 2018 campaign, the then-popular sitting Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, was asked who he was supporting to succeed him. Sandoval laughed. He never did endorse Laxalt.

But this year several Republicans, most of them rural, have given their endorsements – to Laxalt’s Democratic opponent.

Can Oz, Vance, or Walker say their “candidate quality” is so poor, so suspect, that rural Republican elected officials are publicly endorsing their Democratic opponents? Because Laxalt can. 

Oz has been taking a lot of heat for being a carpetbagger. To which Laxalt can legitimately say “hold my beer.” 

Laxalt moved to Nevada from his native Washington D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Virginia near the end of Obama’s second term for the sole purpose of launching a political career by exploiting his grandfather’s name and brand. Laxalt’s motives and intentions have always been nakedly obvious, so much so that even most (all?) of the other Nevada Laxalts can’t stand him. 

As a dozen of his relatives wrote when he was running for governor in 2018, “for those of us who were actually raised in Nevada, it’s difficult to hear him continue to falsely claim that he was raised in Nevada or has any true connections to Nevadans.”

Compared to the blinding intensity of Laxalt’s blatant opportunism by hanging his red hat in Nevada, Dr. Oz’s carpetbagging looks like mere crudité assembling.

Which brings us to perhaps the most confounding facet of the national, i.e., East Coast political press corp ignoring Laxalt in their coverage of the Republican “candidate quality” conundrum. Laxalt hails from their own backyard. You’d think they’d have more interest.

So c’mon national media, snap out of it. Oz, Vance, and Walker are wholly unsuited to represent people in the U.S. Senate. But the same can be said of Laxalt, too. And the same should be said. After all, he’s going to be the 51st Republican senator. Unless Oz is. Or Vance. Or Walker. Or Blake Masters in Arizona. Or Joe O’Dea in Colorado.

Or none of them.

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

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