Sam Brown Wins Nevada GOP Primary for Key Senate Seat

Sam Brown Wins Nevada GOP Primary for Key Senate Seat
Nevada Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Brown speaks to media after voting at Reno High School in Reno, Nev., on June 14, 2022. (Tom R. Smedes/AP Photo)

Days after clinching an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, U.S. Army Afghanistan War veteran Sam Brown has won Nevada’s June 11 Republican U.S. Senate primary and will meet incumbent Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) in November’s general election.

“Thank you, Nevada!” Mr. Brown said on X moments after he was declared the winner. “Next stop: November 5th.”

In a race called by the Associated Press at 11:12 p.m. Eastern with 58 percent of results from precincts statewide counted, Mr. Brown collected 56.8, or 55,816 votes, to defeat Dr. Jeffrey Ross Gunter, 16.5 percent, or 16,230 votes; former Nevada state lawmaker Jim Marchant 6.8 percent, or 6,699 votes; U.S. Air Force veteran Tony Grady 5.4 percent, or 5,330 votes, and six other Republican hopefuls in the crowded party preliminary.

Former President Trump endorsed Mr. Brown on June 9, hours after he left Nevada following a campaign rally in Las Vegas.

“Sam Brown is a fearless American patriot, a Purple Heart recipient, who has proven he has the ‘pure grit’ and courage to take on our enemies, foreign and domestic,” the former president wrote June 9 on Truth Social.

Mr. Brown earned rave reviews from Nevada Republicans—and many Democrats, especially veterans—when he ran as a no-name candidate in the state’s 2022 GOP U.S. Senate primary against the heavily favored Adam Laxalt, a former state Attorney General with a polished resume and a well-known family name.

His grassroots ‘Duty First’ campaign traveled the dusty backwaters of the state, Mr. Brown—or, as he became widely known, Capt. Sam Brown—gained traction, drew donors, and earned the Nevada Republican Party Committee’s endorsement.

Despite being dramatically outspent, he garnered nearly 34 percent of the primary vote, ultimately falling by more than 20 percentage points to Mr. Laxalt, who would go on to narrowly lose the general election to incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

His strong midterm primary performance and perceived broader appeal in general elections made Mr. Brown among the top choices of the state and national Republican parties to take on Ms. Rosen, who is running for the first time as an incumbent.

Mr. Brown, who earned a Bronze Star with a ‘V’ for valor and received a Purple Heart, was an infantry officer in Afghanistan when he was nearly killed by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar in 2008. He endured third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body.

When he formally declared he would run for the 2024 GOP nomination against Ms. Rosen in July 2023, he was immediately endorsed by National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

“Sam Brown’s life of service and sacrifice is an inspiration to all Americans. I am very pleased that Sam is stepping up to run for the U.S. Senate,” Sen. Daines said.

Mr. Brown’s entry into Nevada’s Senate race and June 11 primary win is widely welcomed by Republicans nationwide as the GOP gears up to gain control of the Senate, now led by Democrats, 51-49.

In November, 34 of the chamber’s seats are on the ballot, including 23 held by Democrats and three Independents who caucus with them. Ten of those seats, including the one occupied by Ms. Cortez Masto, are expected to be hotly contested, with Republicans near-certain the mere numbers themselves point to a GOP-led Senate beginning in 2025.

Even before the former president’s 11th-hour endorsement, most polling showed Mr. Brown already comfortably ahead of Dr. Gunter and Mr. Marchant, with one exception: A May 30 survey of 802 likely voters by Kaplan Strategies showed Dr. Gunter with a 1-percentage-point lead. Dr. Gunter’s campaign paid for the poll.

Former President Trump’s decision to back Mr. Brown met with opposition from some in the MAGA movement.

“I believe [Jeff Gunter] is the true America First candidate in this race,” activist Laura Loomer wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Dr. Gunter, a dermatologist who served as the U.S. ambassador to Iceland during the Trump administration, has been active in GOP campaigns across the country as a donor, but never a candidate.

Much of the $3.3 million his campaign reported to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in its May 22 filing is self-funded.

Mr. Brown’s May 22 FEC filing showed his campaign had raised more than $9 million.

Yet even that fundraising is dwarfed by what Ms. Rosen, who easily swept past nominal challengers in her June 11 primary, has in her war chest as a first-time incumbent. Her race was the first called by the AP at 11:08 p.m. PST with 92.5 percent of the votes that had been counted with 69 percent of precincts reporting.

According to her May 22 FEC filing, Ms. Rosen has raised more than $26 million and has more than $10.2 million in cash on hand.

From The Epoch Times