A Republican Senate candidate in Nevada wouldn’t say whether he would vote to overturn the results of the next presidential election, an issue that more GOP candidates running for both state and federal office may be called on to confront.
Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt dodged a question about certifying the 2024 results in Reno last week.
“I’m not going to answer that kind of hypothetical,” he told a KRNV interviewer during a campaign stop Oct. 1 when asked whether he would overturn the outcome.
Pressed by the interviewer, Laxalt said, “It’s absolutely not a fair question ― four years from now, who may be in an office and who may be running. We stood for election integrity in 2020. I continue to think it’s a problem for our state.”
Former President Donald Trump has teased another White House bid in 2024, which could give Trump-aligned senators and House members another opportunity to vote against certifying the election results based on phony claims of election rigging. In both chambers, 147 Republicans voted against certifying the 2020 Electoral College results that declared Joe Biden the winner of the presidential race.
Like many Republicans running to swing control of the House and Senate next year, Laxalt has promoted the bogus narrative that widespread fraud was to blame for Trump’s losses in six key battlegrounds.
Looking to the midterms and beyond, his remarks signal the willingness of Republicans to project fraud on elections that haven’t even happened. And whether to certify election results has become something of a litmus test for GOP candidates.
Last week, Kari Lake, Trump’s choice for Arizona governor in 2022, told One America News Network that she wouldn’t have certified her state’s election results for Biden had she been governor.
A largely discredited audit of election results in Arizona still confirmed Biden’s slim victory in the state.
As Trump’s pick for the Nevada seat — and the perceived Republican front-runner trying to oust Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto — Laxalt has already said he’d support legal challenges to the midterm results, more than a year out from the election.
“With me at the top of the ticket, we’re going to be able to get everybody at the table and come up with a full plan, do our best to try to secure this election, get as many observers as we can, and file lawsuits early, if there are lawsuits we can file to try to tighten up the election,” he told far-right radio host Wayne Allyn Root in August.
Laxalt is following the same playbook as Trump and Larry Elder, the right-wing radio personality who unsuccessfully ran against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in California’s recall election. Before votes were even tallied, Elder launched a website that claimed to have detected fraud.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Laxalt has refused to say whether Biden was the legitimately elected president.
“I know you want to make this entire election about this. We have major issues going on in our country right now,” he said.
As the co-chair of Trump’s campaign in Nevada — a swing state that Biden carried by about 33,000 votes — Laxalt was involved with the campaign’s lawsuits challenging the state’s results, which were eventually all dismissed. Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavsk’s office reviewed alleged evidence of voter fraud compiled by the Nevada GOP and found “no evidentiary support for the contention that the 2020 general election was plagued by widespread voter fraud.”
Laxalt’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Laxalt was Nevada’s attorney general from 2015 to 2019, leaving his post after losing a race for governor in 2018 to Democrat Steve Sisolak.