Election 2024

GOP Senate candidate Adam Laxalt has been attacking LGBTQ equality for years. He could win.

Adam Laxalt
Adam Laxalt Photo: Gage Skidmore

Ric Grenell, the United States’ former Acting Director of National Intelligence, and the highest profile LGBTQ official in the Trump administration, made a quick jaunt to the Carson City (Nevada) Republican Club on June 8.

Although unannounced until just a day prior, and coming less than a week before Nevada’s primary election season would wrap up, his trip to the unassuming state capital was hardly a surprise for those following the travel itinerary of the hardcore Trump surrogate and steadfast “Big Lie” conspiracy theorist.

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Grenell’s visit was a joint campaign appearance on behalf of Nevada’s former Attorney General and 2018 GOP gubernatorial loser Adam Laxalt.

During this election cycle Laxalt has found himself in a much closer than anticipated match up with Captain Sam Brown for the right to face Nevada’s senior U.S. Senator, Catherine Cortez-Masto, in November. And a recent poll shows that Laxalt has a 26-point lead on the other candidates in the primary.

Yet despite Laxalt’s extremely close relationship with his openly queer friend Grenell, one which led the former cabinet level director to make the last minute appearance in Nevada, the former AG is no friend to the LGBTQ community.

A joint statement put out in April by a variety of queer-focused Nevada organizations made that very clear.

At that time, Andre Wade, who heads Silver State Equality, stated, “Adam Laxalt has made a hateful anti-LGBTQ+ activism a cornerstone of his political career.”

The reasons Laxalt has been accused of anti- LGBTQ bias are plentiful, and his track record long. In 2018, HRC Nevada pointed out that Laxalt had an “obsession with attacking the LGBTQ community.”

This obsession included a 2014 statement against same-sex marriage equality and a 2010 op-ed speculating that, “senior officers and non-commissioned officers will have to, under the color of Military Law, proactively endorse and eventually foster homosexuality.”

While Nevada voters became the first in the nation to enshrine same-sex marriage in the state constitution, and in doing so overriding Laxalt’s tantrums, the now three time candidate for statewide office hasn’t slowed down on his virulently gay baiting agenda.

Another close friend, and former roommate, of Laxalt’s has demonized gays like few others in recent political history, and the would-be Senator has not missed his chance to pile on.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Laxalt have a long history together.

Sharing a Rhode Island dorm during their time in the Navy, Laxalt was one of the first to endorse DeSantis during his stunning gubernatorial run in 2018, and DeSantis, in an appearance at a Las Vegas country and western bar this year returned the favor.

In addition to their long history together, Laxalt’s championing of DeSantis, “Don’t Say Gay” law played a major role in earning the Republicans’ stamp of approval.

On March 31, Laxalt was a guest on the Breitbart Podcast, and during the program blamed opponents of the legislation of being guilt of indoctrination.

“Why are they fighting — I should say — against this bill if it were not because they want to be able to indoctrinate kids at these ages?”
With Captain Brown’s spirited challenge to Laxalt’s presumed primary primacy creating strong headwinds for whoever victor is in their eventual fall face off with Sen. Cortez-Masto, at least one dialed-in swing voter is less than impressed with Laxalt.

Patricia Farley, a former Republican state senator turned independent political power broker, saw her time in office overlap with Laxalt’s.

When reached for comment about his views on the LGBTQ community, Farley an outspoken ally of queer and minority empowerment had this to say, “Mr. Laxalt has never been a respected member of the professional or political class in Nevada. He is however a warm and willing body to those who need their messages carried no matter how banal, inane, cruel, or flawed his backer’s needs might be.”

With Laxalt expected to ultimately prevail in the internal party conflict and the general election for one of the most important races in the US about to commence, Jon Ralston, a nationally renowned political forecaster and Chief Executive Officer of Nevada’s news site of record, The Nevada Independent, offered his analysis to LGBTQ Nation of a Laxalt vs. Cortez-Masto showdown and how influential LGBTQ voters and their supporters may be in the battle for control of the Senate.

“It depends if those groups are willing to mobilize,” Ralston said. “Laxalt is one of the more anti-LGBTQ candidates in the state. I don’t know if CCM [Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto] will push the issue, or what may develop in the next six months, but if the race is close, it could matter.”

With both DeSantis and Donald Trump behind him, Laxalt’s seemingly ingrained hatred for the LGBTQ community doesn’t seem as though it will abate before the polls close in 2022, and if Jon Ralston is correct and the queer vote ends up mattering in a close matchup, Laxalt’s record deserves to be studied as closely as any politicians should and can be.

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