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Adam Laxalt

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Adam Laxalt speaks to a crowd at an election night event on June 14, 2022 in Reno, Nevada. (Photo: Trevor Bexon/Getty Images)

Cortez Masto's October Surprise? Support From GOP Challenger Adam Laxalt's Family

"As a third-generation Nevadan and your senator, I'm committed to fighting for every single family in our state," said the Democratic incumbent. "I'm proud to have the endorsement of the Laxalt family in this race."

Jessica Corbett

"As a proud Nevada family, we are honored to endorse Catherine Cortez Masto for the prestigious national role of U.S. senator for Nevada."

"Her entire career demonstrates years of bold actions that she has taken as an authentic advocate of Nevada."

That's the final line of a three-page letter signed by 14 relatives of Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, who is challenging Cortez Masto, the first-term Democratic incumbent. The document was first reported Wednesday by The Nevada Independent.

The endorsement comes as Laxalt and Cortez Masto are locked in what some pollsters and reporters consider the tightest U.S. Senate race—one that will help determine which party controls the chamber for the final two years of President Joe Biden's first term.

The contest has highlighted a debate raging among Democrats about the effectiveness of strongly focusing on abortion rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court reversing Roe v. Wade and not paying enough attention to the broader economic struggles of working-class voters.

The Laxalt family letter—which does not mention the GOP candidate by name—praises Cortez Masto on multiple fronts while stressing that she "clearly identifies with the world of the Nevada worker."

"From a young age, Catherine grew up understanding the daily realities of dogged hard work. Like us, the backdrop of an immigrant experience was always within a very close reach," the letter states, noting her journey from public education to law school.

"Catherine also understands what it means to be a fighter—especially when it comes to her home state of Nevada. Her years of public service are evidence of this," the letter continues, recalling her time as state attorney general, a position Laxalt also later held.

The Laxalt family wrote that "as our U.S. senator, she has fought for Nevada families by working to bring down the high costs of prescriptions. She has even gone to battle in holding oil companies accountable for price-gouging Nevada citizens at the gas pump. Catherine has expertly defended her Nevada constituents."

"Catherine's unwavering support of the rights of Nevada women is historic," the family asserted, acknowledging rights that are now "horrifically in peril." They also noted the Democrat's dedication to Nevada industries and lands.

"In closing, we are proud to support our fellow Nevadan Catherine Cortez Masto for reelection to the United States Senate," they wrote. "Her entire career is not a simple 'sound bite' that merely speaks of supporting Nevada. Rather, her entire career demonstrates years of bold actions that she has taken as an authentic advocate of Nevada."

The new letter, as The Recount and MSNBC pointed out, is part of a trend:

In 2014, seven of Laxalt's family members endorsed Democrat Ross Miller, writing in the Las Vegas Sun that he was "the most qualified candidate to be our state's attorney general."

Laxalt won the AG contest but lost a 2018 race for governor. During that campaign, a dozen of his relatives wrote for the Reno Gazette Journal that "we… feel compelled to protect our family name from being leveraged and exploited" by the GOP candidate—a move that prompted 22 other family members to publicly respond and defend his candidacy in the same newspaper.

Though he was raised by a single mother, Michelle Laxalt, it was revealed in 2013 that Adam Laxalt is the son of Pete Domenici, a Republican who served in the U.S. Senate alongside her father, Paul Laxalt—who was a GOP governor of Nevada before being elected to Congress.

In response to his relatives' latest rejection of his political ambitions, Adam Laxalt tweeted Wednesday that "it's not surprising that once again a handful of family members and spouses, half of whom do not live in Nevada, and most of whom are Democrats, are supporting a Democrat."

"They think that Nevada and our country are heading in the right direction. I believe Nevadans don't agree with the Biden/Masto agenda of high gas prices, soaring inflation, rising crime, and an open border," he added. "I look forward to representing Nevadans in the U.S. Senate in January."

Cortez Masto, meanwhile, welcomed the support of her opponent's relatives.

"As a third-generation Nevadan and your senator, I'm committed to fighting for every single family in our state," she said Thursday. "I'm proud to have the endorsement of the Laxalt family in this race."

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