Nevada Republicans pick Adam Laxalt, Joe Lombardo, election denier to challenge Democratic incumbents

Adam Laxalt
(Image credit: Trevor Bexon/Getty Images)

Nevada Republicans picked the more moderate candidate in Tuesday's primary for governor and U.S. Senate, but opted for election fraud conspiracist Jim Marchant to challenge Democrat Cisco Aguilar for a shot to run Nevada elections as secretary of state. Most of the big races are expected to be competitive in November due to a political environment seen favorable to Republicans.

GOP primary voters picked Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo to challenge first-term Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) and former state Attorney General Adam Laxallt to run against Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D). Both Republicans topped fringier candidates, aided by endorsements from former President Donald Trump.

Lombardo's top opponent in a crowded primary field, Reno lawyer Joey Gilbert, was endorsed by the Nevada Republican Party. He boasted during the campaign about attending Trump's Jan. 6, 2021, "stop the steal" rally and being outside the U.S. Capitol during the ensuing riot, and he refused to concede Tuesday night, writing on Facebook: "No one likes No Show Joe and he absolutely is not beating me, and will not beat me in a fair fight/race." Lombardo also beat former Sen. Dean Heller (R) and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee.

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Laxalt, endorsed by both Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), faced a surprisingly strong challenge from Sam Brown, a retired Army captain and Afghanistan War veteran endorsed by the state Republican Party. Laxalt lost the 2018 governor's race to Sisolak. Cortez Masto is a top GOP target in November.

Marchant, a former state assemblyman, "made false claims the 2020 election was stolen and alleged without evidence Trump won Nevada," The Washington Post reports. He "was part of the alternate slate of electors the Nevada GOP offered in a bid to overturn the 2020 election." Marchant "raised his public profile during campaign season by promoting in rural counties the idea of abandoning electronic voting machines in favor of paper ballots and hand-counting ballots," The Nevada Independent adds.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Dina Titus easily fended off a challenge from the left in Nevada's 1st Congressional District, and Lt. Gov. Lisa Cano Burkhead (D) beat a well-funded challenger.

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