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‘Great momentum’: Sam Brown confident of primary victory

Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sam Brown — fresh from the endorsement of Donald Trump — is confident he’ll win the primary tomorrow and succeed in November.

“We’ve got a lot of great momentum,” Brown said in an interview. “Republicans are excited about this election cycle, in part because winning in November means bringing back a hope and a sort of a belief that the American dream is not dead.”

The Army veteran faces a large field of Republican candidates Tuesday, including Dr. Jeff Gunter, former ambassador to Iceland under the Trump administration and former Assemblyman Jim Marchant.

Brown, who previously ran for Senate in 2022 but lost in the primary, has a massive leg-up from the other candidates, including a $2.5 million war chest, and both the support of Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo and Donald Trump, as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee chair.

Gunter, who has framed himself as “110 percent pro-Trump” hasn’t given up despite the former president endorsing Brown.

“The America First faithful are firmly behind our campaign and our momentum continues to surge,” he said in a statement.

If he makes it through the primary, however, Brown will have to garner the support of Nevada’s rising nonpartisan voter bloc, which makes up around 34 percent of the electorate, in order to defeat the first-term Sen. Jacky Rosen, who has worked to frame herself as a bipartisan senator.

‘I’ll make it through this primary’

“Whenever I talk to voters, my message doesn’t change a lot,” Brown said. “It’s not a partisan race in my view, and so the same candidate that I am in the primary is really who I am all the time.

“And I believe that the issues and the policies that I’m for don’t just help Republicans; they help all Nevadans, and so more voters will probably get a chance to get introduced to me because I’ll make it through this primary and I’ll be on the general election ticket,” Brown said.

Brown recently faced criticism from his opponents for flip-flopping on his stance for Yucca Mountain. In 2022 he expressed support for the project, then clarified he hasn’t committed to supporting the opening of Yucca Mountain before finally saying he opposes it.

Throughout his campaign for the Senate seat, Brown has criticized Rosen for voting along with President Joe Biden’s agenda 98 percent of the time. When asked if he and Trump win in November, if he will break from Trump or follow Trump’s legislative agenda, Brown said he will vote for what’s best for Nevadans and will tackle that issue by issue.

Brown praised Trump’s pledge he announced at Sunday’s rally to not tax the tips service workers make.

“That’s an issue that no politician has really brought up as a policy idea,” he said. “I’m left wondering, knowing that we’re a service-based economy here in Nevada and so many people rely on their tips, which is not guaranteed income, why is this a policy that Jacky Rosen hasn’t been a champion of in the past?”

Johanna Warshaw, a spokesperson for Rosen’s campaign, said in a statement Rosen supports cutting taxes for tipped workers and all hardworking Nevadans and said Rosen has been fighting for years to deliver tax relief and pass a broad-based middle class tax cut.

Accepting the election

Brown, who criticized former Attorney General Adam Laxalt for not doing enough to fight the 2020 election results in Nevada when he ran for Senate in 2022, dodged a question on whether he agrees with Trump when he said he believes he won Nevada twice — despite losing the state in both 2016 and 2020.

“The results are now historical,” Brown said. “We know what the results are. The election that matters right now is November 5.”

Brown committed to accepting the November election results, win or lose.

“There’s no question in my mind about that,” he said.

Israel

The Review-Journal asked how, if at all, his policies and stances on Israel differ from that of Rosen, who is the only Jewish woman currently serving in the Nevada Senate.

“When I hear Sen. Rosen talk about Israel, she says a lot of the right things,” he said. “My concern is where was Sen. Rosen before Oct. 7?”

He criticized the Biden administration for working with Iran as a “good faith partner,” despite its leadership being “hell bent on destroying Israel. He criticized Rosen for not pushing back against the Biden administration’s efforts to normalize relations with Iran.

“We need strong leadership that will respond before tragedy strikes as well as after,” Brown said.

The Nevada senator has long spoken out against Iran, including before the Oct. 7 attack against Israel. In June 2023, she co-introduced a bill that would bolster sanctions against Iran. She has broken from her party and Biden in support of Israel’s right do defend itself, and in June 2022 she introduced legislation to build on the Abraham Accords.

When asked for his thoughts on Trump calling the Jan. 6 protesters “warriors,” Brown said Trump speaks for himself.

“I’m focused on this race,” he said. “We’ve got to get through Tuesday. I’m encouraging all my supporters to make sure that they get out and vote on Tuesday. We’re also excited for all those who opted to do early voting and mail in voting. But we got to finish strong on Tuesday, and we’ll be on to the election in November. And that will be the opportunity for Nevadans and for all Americans to have their voice and the direction of this country.”

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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