The buzz at this year’s sixth annual Basque Fry hovered on former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt and if he would announce a run for U.S. Senate.
After several high-profile speakers lauded Laxalt and his background as a formidable candidate against current Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, he filed late Sunday to run against the first-term senator. Afghanistan war veteran Sam Brown, who has been on the campaign trail for several weeks, has also announced he’s running for the Senate seat.
Saturday’s Basque Fry at the Corley Ranch south of Gardnerville brought together thousands of Republicans from almost every Nevada county and a number of the party faithful from California. In addition to the speakers, vendors set up information booths to promote their causes or candidates, several of whom who are running for governor. The event also included a Basque lunch with sausage and lamb fries (testicles).
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Tim Cotton of Arkansas both said Laxalt would be a good senator from Nevada.
“I hope he wins election to the U.S. Senate in 2022,” said DeSantis, who recorded his remarks for the 4,000 people who attended the Basque Fry.
DeSantis remained in Florida because of a strong tropical storm that took aim on the state’s panhandle. Both DeSantis and Laxalt have known each other for more than a decade as officers in the U.S. Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps. Both men deployed to Iraq at the same time.
DeSantis’ comments, though, turned to President Joe Biden, which brought both some laughter and applause.
“Even though I can’t be with you, I seem to be living rent free in Joe Biden’s head,” DeSantis said.
The first-term Florida governor said Biden has pursued the most divisive agenda in our lifetime. DeSantis also discussed his governing during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In Florida, citizens are free to make their own decisions about how to govern their affairs,” he said, adding there are no lockdowns or school closures in his state.
Laxalt, the grandson of former Nevada governor and U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, an icon in Silver State politics, said the country is rapidly moving in the wrong direction.
Congressman Mark Amodei, who represents 11 Nevada counties in Congressional District 2, said elections have consequences.
“Next year, we’ll decide who Joe Biden deals with in the House of Representatives and the Senate,” Amodei said.
Amodei, who served with Cotton in Congress from 2013-15, said issues facing Biden would include border security, the price at the gas pumps and foreign policy, especially with how the administration is dealing with Afghanistan.
The Carson City native thanked rural Nevada voters. He said voters in 15 counties — other than Clark or Washoe — gave former President Donald Trump a 75,000-vote lead before ballots from the two largest counties were tallied. He said Washoe County and Clark gave the edge to Biden.
Amodei, who has won the vote in Washoe County for all six of his elections to Congress, told the Nevada News Group he will make an announcement on his future plans in October.
Former U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, who lost a close race to Jacky Rosen in 2018, has also been linked to a possible run for governor. He informed the Nevada News Group on Saturday he will have a “very important announcement” in mid-September on his political future.
Max Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, met with attendees before the program started and afterward.
“I’m a big fan of Adam Laxalt,” Schlapp said. “He’s a strong conservative. The Senate needs courageous young voices.”
Schlapp said Laxalt has a good chance to defeat Cortez Masto as long as the elections are conducted fairly.