Both Candidates Court Veterans in Nevada Senate Election

RENO, Nev. – In Nevada’s sometimes overheated Republican Senate primary, Adam Laxalt’s instruction not to advertise his military service was more common sense than any election strategy.

After all, the former Attorney General, who served as a naval advocate in Iraq, was fighting veteran Captain Sam Browne. Sam Brown, a war hero who was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, whose badly disfigured face is a stronger reminder of his sacrifice than his Purple Heart.

But as his former enemy has now become a patriotic ally, Laxalt, son of a U.S. Senator and grandson of another, is trying to make the most of his own military career. increase.

He’s resorted to familiar Republican buzzwords, appealing to veterans to help save the country from the “left,” calling the Democrats the party of the “megarich,” and attempting to fire Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Mast. is.

In some cases, he draws more on his military experience, which Cortez Masto does not, and relates to conservative issues ranging from US border security to government overreach on COVID-19 and more.

He warns of the dangers of Afghan terrorists freed from captivity and sneaking into the United States prematurely, and promises to reinstate servicemen discharged for refusing to receive coronavirus vaccinations.

These are the battlefields of the West that Republicans see as one of their best chances to turn the blue Senate seat red, with many crowding around candidates like former President Trump-backed Laxalt. It’s kind of like an election issue.

“First and foremost, there is no substitute for service. And we all know that,” Laxalt said recently when he and Brown offered free hot dogs at Foreign War Veterans in Reno. Obviously, Senator Mast is not serving.”

That’s a word he couldn’t use in a debate with Brown, who accused Laxalt in the primary as part of Washington’s “elite” organization.

Laxalt — Grandson of former U.S. Senator and Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt, former Senator Pete Domenici (RN.M. — spent much of his early life in the DC area.

He graduated from Georgetown Law School, served as an assistant professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, and served in the JAG Corps in Iraq, but he never took part in the kind of field combat that Brown saw with the 1st Infantry Regiment in 2008. I did.

At VFW, Laxalt was introduced by a former commander of the B-2 test squadron. The room eventually burst into laughter after he created an awkward moment when he mentioned Laxalt’s role in the military.

“I forgive him for being a JAG,” Air Force Colonel Tony Grady said. “But it wasn’t, because when I was in command, the JAG was in my waist pocket to avoid trouble.”

Brown never claimed his military career was superior to that of Laxalt, but he made veiled references during the primaries to how each reached their current positions. .

In his first ad, Brown described a Taliban bomb that “almost killed me”, a soldier who dragged his burning body to safety under mortar fire, and the 30 surgeries that followed.

Each pitch ended with the same catchphrase. they broke it. ”

Initially, the quote was juxtaposed with images of Cortez Masto and President Joe Biden, but was later accompanied by a photo of Cortez Masto and Laxalto.

Now, Brown is praising Laxalt and pleading with veterans of all political spheres to back him.

“What Republicans do in the primary is to identify who can put the most effective fire, and they will be the main effort,” said Brown. and to become Adam Laxalt’s infantryman.”

In VFW, Laxalto linked Cortés Mast to Democratic policies he said had weakened the U.S. military, disrespected soldiers, and made young Americans less likely to enlist. His biggest applause came when he mocked those who “wonder” that military recruitment was dwindling.

“So you deported military personnel who refused to be vaccinated against the new coronavirus?” said Laxalt. “After 12 years of investment and 15 missions to horrible places, we have the Navy Seals. I’m a guaranteed vote to bring those people back.”

Laxalto said he heard Cortés Masto had not held a town hall meeting with veterans for at least a year.

Not true, said her campaign.

Cortez Masto, whose father and grandfather served in the U.S. Army, has hosted at least 12 events with Nevada veterans in the past year, “listening to their concerns and providing the federal government the support they need.” so that we can provide assistance,” her campaign said. Email.

Her achievements include approval for Elko’s National Veterans Cemetery, which locals have been asking for for nearly a decade.

She helped pass legislation to ensure the health and compensation of veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Her legislation to protect veteran students’ veteran benefits was signed into law, as were measures she supported to improve access to mental health services for veterans.

As he did in the primary, Laxalt reminds veterans that as attorney general of Nevada he established the first state office of the Military Legal Service in the United States.

He said his team of lawyers oversaw more than 20,000 detainees in Iraq as he condemned the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, which “left behind billions of dollars of weapons” for potential terrorists. Advertises JAG’s work in

He said the “Afghan debacle” was the first time an American had “taken the steps of this commander-in-chief and found him unfit for the job.”

“Sen. Mast does not hold him accountable,” said Laxalto. “Terrorists released in Afghanistan could actually be in this country today.

After criticizing Trump’s proposal to pull out without a plan, Cortez Mast claimed he opposed Biden’s method of pulling out of Afghanistan.

She is held in high esteem by veteran Ross Bryant, Executive Director of UNLV’s Military & Veteran Service Center in Las Vegas.

Bryant describes himself as a moderate Republican and voted for candidates from both parties. He said he was happy that veterans were elected to Congress, and that the veterans community “can be very tough at times. ‘If you’re not a veteran, you don’t know what it’s like.'” I admit it.

He said that Laxalt “has done a great job for us” as Attorney General, and that Brown’s support is important to some.

But it would be wrong to portray Cortez Mast as a staunch and effective advocate for veterans. to put up a booth at UNLV’s veteran job fair, and reversing the benefit formula during the COVID pandemic, which would slash $9 million worth of veterinary benefits. . For remote students only at UNLV.

“At the end of the day, she gave birth. She was a rock star to us,” Bryant said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/10/04/both-candidates-courting-veterans-in-nevada-senate-race/ Both Candidates Court Veterans in Nevada Senate Election

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