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Sam Brown wins Nevada's Republican Senate Primary to challenge Democrat Jacky Rosen

ROB SCHMITZ, HOST:

Nevada's U.S. Senate race could be one of the country's most competitive, and in the state's primary yesterday, national Republicans got their preferred candidate. Retired Army captain Sam Brown won the GOP nomination, according to a race call by the Associated Press. He'll now face incumbent Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen. Here's Nevada Public Radio's Paul Boger.

PAUL BOGER, BYLINE: There was a heat advisory across much of the Southwest as voters in Nevada braved near-record temperatures to cast a ballot in the state's Republican primary. James Moore of Reno was among them. He was eager to vote for candidates he felt aligned with his MAGA values, like Sam Brown.

JAMES MOORE: First of all, he's a vet. I like the way he presented himself, and I prefer conservative candidates.

BOGER: In all, a dozen Republicans were vying for the chance to unseat incumbent Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen. Brown, a Purple Heart recipient, who was severely burned by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2008, has received endorsements from notable GOP groups - and, most recently, former President Donald Trump. For Dan DeBlasio, a security professional from Reno, the choice seemed obvious.

DAN DEBLASIO: When Trump finally endorsed him, I was like, what took you so damn long?

(LAUGHTER)

BOGER: Trump's endorsement over the weekend ended speculation over whether he would support Brown or another candidate in the GOP primary - his former ambassador to Iceland, Dr. Jeffrey Gunter. In recent weeks, Gunter criticized Brown for his ties to establishment Republicans, releasing a barrage of attack ads on TV and online. For voters like Nancy Tuinstra of Las Vegas, it was the wrong move. On Tuesday, she cast her ballot for Brown.

NANCY TUINSTRA: He's a veteran, and I also didn't like the campaign that the other opponent ran against him. I thought it was a little dirty and a little cheap.

BOGER: Speaking to supporters at a watch party celebrating his primary win, Brown says he's prepared for the next phase of the election.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAM BROWN: Tonight begins the next stage of accountability - accountability on Joe Biden and Jacky Rosen.

(CHEERING)

BOGER: The Democratic Senator released a statement late Tuesday calling Brown a MAGA extremist, criticizing what she called his far-right agenda of banning abortion. Brown describes himself as an abortion rights opponent. However, earlier this year, he said he would not support a federal abortion ban. Rosen is campaigning as a moderate. Voters like Maja Buell see that as a plus.

MAJA BUELL: I think Jacky Rosen has really done a good job and is really dedicated to our state and tries to work across party lines.

BOGER: And in a year where many voters are feeling apathetic about their choices at the top of the ticket, a competitive Senate race could help drive voters to the polls in November, when the state could also play an important role in choosing the next president.

For NPR News, I'm Paul Boger in Reno. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Paul Boger
[Copyright 2024 NPR]