Adam Laxalt, a Donald Trump-endorsed “Big Lie” purveyor, cruised to victory in the Nevada GOP Senate primary on Tuesday.
Laxalt, who easily beat Army veteran Sam Brown for the Republican nomination, is hoping to unseat incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats this cycle. A GOP pickup in Nevada would severely endanger Democratic control of the Senate next year.
Since the 2020 election, Laxalt has emerged as a champion of Trump’s election fraud lies, especially among Republican senate hopefuls. A former Nevada attorney general who served as Trump’s campaign co-chair, Laxalt filed several lawsuits on behalf of Trump allies seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.
Laxalt has suggested he may challenge the results of his own race if he loses in November.
“With me at the top of the ticket, we’re going to be able to get everybody at the table and come up with a full plan, do our best to try to secure this election, get as many observers as we can, and file lawsuits early, if there are lawsuits we can file to try to tighten up the election,” Laxalt told a local radio host in August.
In a November 2020 op-ed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Laxalt argued, without evidence, that Nevada election officials tabulated “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.”
Laxalt has flip-flopped in his sweeping criticisms of Nevada’s mail-in voting system, telling crowds in urban Democratic counties that voting by mail isn’t secure, while urging supporters in rural counties where Republicans run up margins to get their neighbors to vote absentee.
Laxalt, the son of former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici and the grandson of Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, last ran for office in 2018, when he lost the governor’s race to Democrat Steve Sisolak.
This time around, his election-denying rhetoric hasn’t cost him the support of the establishment wing of the party. Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, see him as their best chance to oust Cortez Masto.
Nevada is still a purple state where elections are often decided by close margin. Biden defeated Trump in 2020 by less than three points. Cortez Masto won by roughly the same margin four years earlier.
Democrats are facing a challenging political environment this year, with voters heavily focused on the skyrocketing cost of living. Cortez Masto, who was elected in 2016 and was the first Latina senator, has sought to address these concerns by pushing for legislation to offset high gas and health care prices.
But the troubling economic picture and Biden’s poor approval ratings could hobble Cortez Masto’s chances. Republicans are already seeing positive signs in the race, such as increased enthusiasm among GOP voters and an uptick in Democratic voters switching their registration to the party.
The coming Supreme Court decision rolling back Roe v. Wade could also impact the Senate race in Nevada, where abortion rights have been codified into law. Laxalt has said he would leave the issue to individual states even though he has a history of advocating against abortion access.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.