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Senate candidate Sam Brown endorses Trump for president

Brown, a volunteer on the former president’s 2020 campaign, had been attacked by primary opponents for being a “Never Trumper.”
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
Election 2024Elections

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Brown endorsed Donald Trump’s presidential bid Friday, choosing to embrace the likely Republican presidential candidate amid attacks from primary opponents.

“It’s time for Nevada Republicans to unite our ticket to defeat Joe Biden and Jacky Rosen in November,” Brown told Breitbart News. “I am endorsing Donald J. Trump for President in 2024 because he has proven he can deliver on the results Nevada needs, and I believe he will deliver on them again.”

Brown, an Army veteran backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), had threaded the needle on Trump up to this point, embracing “America First” language while declining to endorse the embattled party leader in a July interview after his campaign launch. 

Fellow Republican candidates Jim Marchant and Jeff Gunter had already endorsed Trump, and frequently hammered Brown on his lack of support. Gunter, in particular, has been active online in criticizing Brown, calling him a “Never Trumper” and “RINO,” or Republican in Name Only. Both have sought to portray themselves as the true Make America Great Again candidate in the race, referring to Brown as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “handpicked” establishment candidate.

The primary winner will go on to face first-term Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in the general election.

Brown’s Trump endorsement fits within the political persona he cultivated as a challenger to eventual candidate Adam Laxalt in the 2022 Senate Republican primary. Brown volunteered on Trump’s 2020 campaign in Nevada. In 2022, he accused Laxalt of failing Republicans as Trump’s campaign co-chair, saying Laxalt’s efforts to aid Trump’s legal challenges to the 2020 election fell short.

All of Trump’s legal challenges to the 2020 election in Nevada, a state he lost, failed, and there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the state. 

As the frontrunner with national backing this time around, Brown had been more muted on Trump and the 2020 election, saying it did not need to be “relitigated.” 

Brown’s Trump endorsement attempts to shut down the “Never Trump” line of criticism Gunter had been pursuing and paves the way for a potential endorsement from the party’s kingmaker, should he choose to weigh in. But Brown’s stance will also open him up to further criticism from Nevada Democrats eager to tie him to a candidate who has twice lost Nevada.

In 2022, Trump-backed Senate candidates — from Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania to Herschel Walker in Georgia — frequently won primaries only to lose in the general election. But with a 2024 electorate shaped by a Republican base still passionate about the former president, candidates across the country’s political calculus appear to favor endorsing.

In Montana, where Republicans want to knock off vulnerable Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), NRSC-backed Tim Sheehy and Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) have endorsed Trump. The same situation is occurring in Ohio, where Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is a top target. Two of the state’s top three candidates have endorsed Trump — and he responded in kind by endorsing businessman Bernie Moreno. In the race for Michigan’s open Senate seat, favored recruit Mike Rogers, a former Trump critic, endorsed the presidential frontrunner Tuesday.

With all major Nevada candidates aboard the Trump train, the most critical endorsement in the Nevada Senate primary now belongs to the former president himself.

The Trump campaign did not return a request for comment.

Each candidate has a plausible reason to suspect he might receive it. Brown, as the NRSC’s choice, will have Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), who heads the campaign arm, lobbying for him — and Daines, a Trump endorser himself, told The New York Times he’s working closely with the former president on the Senate map. Marchant, meanwhile, was previously endorsed by Trump in his 2022 run for secretary of state and has already hosted a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago this cycle. And Gunter, who served in the Trump administration as his ambassador to Iceland, told supporters to “stay tuned” when discussing how a Trump endorsement was worth more than the $1.85 million Brown raised in the fourth quarter.


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