Nevada Senate race: Trump-backed Laxalt hauls in $1.35M in past three months

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt brought in $1.35 million in fundraising the past three months for his Republican bid to try and unseat Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in the 2022 midterm elections.

Laxalt’s October-December fourth-quarter haul, which a source with knowledge of Laxalt’s fundraising figures shared first with Fox News on Thursday, follows the $1.4 million the candidate raised from his mid-August campaign launch through the end of September.

Republicans need a net gain of just one seat in November’s midterms to recapture the Senate majority they lost when they were swept in a year ago in Georgia’s twin Senate runoff elections. The GOP is playing plenty of defense – they’re defending 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs in 2022, including defending five open seats, with two of them in the key battlegrounds of North Carolina and Pennsylvania. But they also see strong pickup potentials in the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Nevada, where Cortez Masto is running for a second six-year term in the Senate.

Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt speaks at his sixth annual Basque Fry, on Saturday August 14, 2021 in Gardnerville, Nevada. Laxalt announced his 2022 GOP bid for the U.S. Senate a few days later.
(FOX News)

Laxalt enjoys the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who a year removed from the White House remains the most popular and influential politician in the GOP. Laxalt is also being backed by other top Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Laxalt, an Iraq War veteran and grandson of the late Nevada governor and senator Paul Laxalt, is considered the front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination in a race that also includes retired Army officer and Afghanistan War veteran Sam Brown. Fox News was first to report earlier this week that Brown raised just over $1 million in fundraising for the second straight quarter.

Then President Donald Trump joins then Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt at a gubernatorial campaign rally in Douglas County, Nevada, in 2018.
(Adam Laxalt campaign)

Democrats face historical headwinds as they aim to defend their razor-thin Senate majority – the party that wins the White House traditionally suffers congressional setbacks in the ensuring midterm election. And Democrats are currently dealing with a very challenging political environment that includes President Biden’s underwater approval ratings.

The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics – three top nonpartisan political handicappers – recently moved their ratings for Nevada’s Senate showdown from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss-up.” And two recent partisan polls suggested Laxalt holding a lower single digit edge over Cortez Masto.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., listens as Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland testifies during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Department of the Interior budget on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

But beating the Democratic incumbent in the key western battleground state won’t be easy. 

The senator, who chaired the Senate Democrats’ reelection arm last cycle, hauled in $3.3 million the last three months and had a robust $10.4 million in her campaign coffers at the beginning of the year, which Cortez Masto’s team said was a Nevada record. Laxalt reported over $1.25 million in his campaign coffers as of the end of September. No end of fourth quarter cash on hand figure was shared by sources close to the Laxalt campaign.

Cortez Masto, a former two-term Nevada attorney general, defeated Republican Joe Heck by two and a half points in the 2016 race to succeed retiring longtime Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who died three weeks ago. She made history as the first Latina elected to the Senate.

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