FIRST ON FOX: Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt raised more than $1.6 million over the past three months for his Republican campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in the 2022 midterm elections.
Laxalt's January-March first quarter haul, which a source with knowledge of Laxalt's fundraising figures shared first with Fox News on Thursday, is the candidate’s largest to date since jumping into the race in mid-August. Laxalt brought in $1.4 million in the third quarter of last year, followed by a $1.35 million fourth quarter haul.
Laxalt has consistently ranked near the top in terms of quarterly fundraising among the Republican challengers this cycle who aren't self-funders.
Republicans need a net gain of just one seat in November's midterms to recapture the Senate majority they lost a year ago when Democrats swept Georgia's twin Senate runoff elections. The GOP is playing plenty of defense — they're defending 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs in 2022, including defending five open seats, with two of them in the key battlegrounds of North Carolina and Pennsylvania. But they also see strong pickup potentials in the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Nevada, where Cortez Masto is running for a second six-year term in the Senate.
Laxalt enjoys the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who remains the most popular and influential politician in the GOP 15 months after leaving the White House. Laxalt is also backed by other top Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. Cruz is scheduled to campaign with Laxalt in Nevada next week.
Laxalt, an Iraq War veteran and grandson of the late Nevada governor and senator Paul Laxalt, is the polling and fundraising front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination in a race that also includes retired Army officer and Afghanistan War veteran Sam Brown. Brown raised just over $1 million in the third and fourth quarter of last year but has yet to announce his first quarter fundraising figures. Candidates have until end of day Friday to file their fundraising numbers with the Federal Election Commission.
Democrats face historical headwinds as they aim to defend their razor-thin Senate majority. The party that wins the White House traditionally suffers congressional setbacks in the ensuring midterm election, and Democrats are currently dealing with a very challenging political environment that includes President Biden’s underwater approval ratings.
The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics — three of the top nonpartisan election prognosticators — all currently rate Nevada’s Senate showdown a "Toss-up." And a new public opinion poll released this week indicated Laxalt holding a lower single digit edge over Cortez Masto.
But beating the Democratic incumbent in the key western battleground state won’t be easy.
The senator, who chaired the Senate Democrats' reelection arm last cycle, raked in $3.3 million the fourth quarter of last year, and followed that up with a record $4.4 million haul in the past three months. The senator’s campaign reported a robust $11 million in her campaign coffers at the end of March.
Cortez Masto, a former two-term Nevada attorney general, defeated Republican Joe Heck by two and a half points in the 2016 race to succeed retiring longtime Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who died three weeks ago. She made history as the first Latina elected to the Senate.