Nevada Senate Showdown Sparks Turmoil in Trump’s Inner Circle: High-Stakes Race Takes Center Stage

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Nevada Senate race unfolds as a high-stakes, contentious showdown that ignites divisions in former President Donald Trump’s orbit. Republican candidates compete for his endorsement. This crucial race is one of only a few contests in which Trump, the presumed GOP presidential nominee, as well as the National Republican Senatorial Committee, are not publicly aligned.

Silver State’s Senate Seat is very important, as shown in the 2022 Midterm Election when the race was decided with a margin of 0.77 percent. This is the tightest margin in any Senate race across the country. After incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, D-NV, edged out Republican challenger Adam Laxalt (former NV Attorney-General), Democrats had a 51-49 majority.

In 2024, Republicans will only need to gain one or two seats to win the majority. This depends on which party controls the White House after the next presidential election. The Cook Report has rated the Battle Born State as a “Toss-Up” and Democrat Jacky Rose is more vulnerable.

The Republican leader in this race is Captain (Ret.) Sam Brown is a Bronze Star recipient and Purple Heart winner who was wounded by a roadside explosion in Afghanistan. He has distinctive scars from the burns he sustained and subsequent skin grafting. These have become his trademark. Brown was recruited to run by Senator Steve Daines, Chairman of the NRSC. Brown ran in Texas for a representative seat in 2014, before moving to Nevada where he ran in the Republican Primary for Senate in 2022 and came in second place to Laxalt.

Two sources familiar with the meeting confirmed to CNN that Brown visited Trump’s Mar-a-Lago last week to seek Trump’s endorsement. Trump’s most vocal and ardent supporters have treated Brown with hostility while privately encouraging him to support Dr. Jeffrey Gunter. He was his former ambassador in Iceland.

Gunter, who is a dermatologist and a former Californian, attended a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago before his campaign bought multi-million-dollar ads in the state to promote him as “110 percent pro-Trump.” Jim Marchant, a former state assemblyman who failed to win the Secretary of State nomination in 2022, is also running for Trump’s nomination.

Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, organized a rally in support of Gunter last weekend at a Las Vegas resort. Brown, meanwhile, has received public support from other national figures, including Mitch McConnell, who made a notable visit to a Brown fundraiser last year.

Several MAGA personalities including Laura Loomer who was part of the host committee at Gunter’s fundraising event, and Roger Stone criticize Brown because of his affiliations with mainstream Republicans. Brown’s critics point to an interview he gave with Punchbowl News in August, where he did not say whether he felt comfortable with Trump on the GOP ticket in Nevada. Brown stated in the interview that he would support the GOP nominee no matter who won, saying “I’m fine with anyone challenging Joe Biden, and ultimately defeating Joe Biden.”

Brown door-knocked in support of Trump and endorsed his candidacy for 2020. In 2022 Brown endorsed Laxalt as his opponent in the primary election for the general elections, then a Trump-backed candidate, and appeared with him at an event for veterans. Brown has endorsed former President Obama again this year ahead of the Iowa Caucuses.

Sources say that critics of Brown shared information about his perceived lack of alignment with Trump and his mainstream image rather than MAGA, in an attempt to prevent any possible endorsement. Sources familiar with these interactions say that negative information, including Gunter’s past registration as a Democrat, and reports about his ambassadorship based on a State Department Inspector General report from 2021, was also sent to Trump to try to sway his opinion.

According to CNN, National Republicans told Gunter not to enter the Senate Primary, according to two sources who were present at the conversation. Sources close to Gunter, Brown, and Trump all insisted that Trump’s top campaign officials are on their side. They also believed that there was a possibility that the former president would endorse their candidate.

There is no primary polling conducted between Brown and Gunter. However, a poll taken in February indicated that Brown had a 13-point lead over Marchant. In a general election head-to-head matchup with Rosen last month, the Democrat incumbent led Gunter by a 10-point margin and Brown by 2 points. As of last month, it is unclear whether Trump will make a primary endorsement for this important race.