Adam Laxalt

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Adam Laxalt
Adam Laxalt by Gage Skidmore.jpg
33rd Attorney General of Nevada
In office
January 5, 2015 – January 7, 2019
GovernorBrian Sandoval
Preceded byCatherine Cortez Masto
Succeeded byAaron Ford
Personal details
Adam Paul Laxalt

(1978-08-31) August 31, 1978 (age 41)
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Jaime Laxalt
RelativesPete Domenici (father)
Paul Laxalt (grandfather)
ResidenceReno, Nevada, U.S.
EducationTulane University
Georgetown University (BA, JD)
WebsiteCampaign website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service2005–2010
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Lieutenant
UnitJudge Advocate General's Corps
Battles/warsIraq War
AwardsJoint Service Commendation Medal

Adam Paul Laxalt (born August 31, 1978)[1] is an American attorney and Republican Party politician who served as the 33rd Nevada Attorney General from 2015 to 2019.[2] He unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Nevada, losing to Democrat Steve Sisolak in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Early life[edit]

Laxalt was born in Reno, Nevada, the son of Pete Domenici, a Republican U.S. Senator from New Mexico and Michelle Laxalt. He is the grandson of former Republican Nevada Governor and U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt. Laxalt's mother raised him as a single parent. Laxalt's paternity was not publicly acknowledged by his parents until 2013.[3][4] At that time, Domenici acknowledged that Laxalt was his son and was born as a result of an extramarital liaison.[4]


After graduating from St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School, a college preparatory school in Alexandria, Virginia, he enrolled at Tulane University. After attending Tulane for two years, where he admitted to having drinking problems, he transferred to Georgetown University, where he graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude.[5] He graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with a Juris Doctor degree in 2005.[6]

Driving and traffic record[edit]

Driving under the influence[edit]

In 1997, Laxalt was arrested for driving under the influence after he was pulled over and taken to a Virginia police station, where he was found to have a high blood-alcohol content. Laxalt was treated for alcoholism at the Hazelden Foundation near Minneapolis.[7]

Traffic tickets and failure to appear in court[edit]

Also revealed for the first time in September 2018, Laxalt was issued eight traffic tickets — including five for speeding— between 1996 and 2006 in Virginia and Maryland, where he spent most of his life before moving to Nevada in 2011.[8] One citation was for driving 82 mph in a 55 mph zone in August 2003. Laxalt was fined $140 and ordered to appear in court, but did not show up and did not pay the fine until August 2018, 15 years later.[9]

Early career[edit]

Laxalt first worked for then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John R. Bolton, before joining the office of Virginia U.S. Senator John Warner.[10] After leaving Washington, Laxalt worked for the law firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie at its Reno office until 2014, when he left the firm to concentrate on his bid for Attorney General.[11] He opposed the full repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" in 2010.[12]

Military service[edit]

Laxalt served in the United States Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps from July 2005 to August 2010.[13] His assignments included instructing law courses at the United States Naval Academy,[14] and he volunteered for a posting to Camp Victory, Iraq during the Iraq War.[15] He attained the rank of lieutenant, and his awards included the Iraq Campaign Medal and Joint Service Commendation Medal.[15]

Campaign for Nevada Attorney General[edit]

After practicing with Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Laxalt considered a campaign for Nevada Attorney General.[16] In January 2014, he announced his candidacy.[17] Laxalt was the Republican nominee in the general election, and overcame issues including negative performance evaluations from his law firm which were leaked to the press[18] and claims that he was a carpetbagger too new to Nevada to be considered for statewide office.[19] In the general election, he defeated Democratic nominee Ross Miller and minor-party candidate Jonathan Hansen.[20]

Career as Attorney General[edit]

Laxalt was sworn in as the 33rd Attorney General of Nevada on January 5, 2015. His inauguration made him the youngest Attorney General in the United States at the time of his election.[21]

Office organization[edit]

Laxalt created the Office of Military Legal Assistance,[22] a program that provides Nevada's military members with pro-bono legal representation, and the Federalism Unit that challenges federal regulations including the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the United States Rule and the Bureau of Land Management's Sage Grouse Plan.[23]

Gun issues[edit]

In 2017, Laxalt spoke at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Atlanta, Georgia. In his speech, Laxalt criticized a bill passed by the Nevada Senate, comparing the bill to the film Minority Report, saying the bill was based in “a concept called pre-crime” and would allow the government to “take your second amendment rights based merely on suspicion or threat.”[24] In 2018, months after the NRA published a video calling greater adoption of these laws,[25] Laxalt recommended that the legislature consider such a law in 2018, though he would not comment on if such laws were constitutional.[26] Laxalt was slated to speak at the NRA's 2018 annual conference until his photo was mysteriously removed from the event website, days after the Parkland shooting, raising questions about what happened and whether he still planned to attend.[27]

Restrictions on reproductive choice[edit]

As attorney general, Laxalt signed Nevada onto at least four known lawsuits supporting abortion restrictions or pro-life entities in other states.[28] Laxalt signed onto two lawsuits supporting bans on the most commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure.[28] Republican pro-choice Governor Brian Sandoval's office said it was not consulted before Laxalt signed Nevada onto the Texas abortion ban brief. In the Supreme Court case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, Laxalt signed an amicus brief[29] in support of a Texas TRAP law that imposed medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion clinics in order to curb the availability of abortion providers.[30] The Supreme Court found the restrictions were an unconstitutional violation of the prohibition on placing an “undue burden” on the right to obtain an abortion.[31]

Koch network support[edit]

Laxalt signed onto a California lawsuit to support keeping secret the identities of the donors to one of his biggest political backers, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, backed by the GOP megadonors Charles and David Koch.[32] Laxalt opposed a multi-state investigation into ExxonMobil's alleged role in downplaying climate change, condemning it as an attempt to stifle an “ongoing public policy debate” over human-caused global warming. Laxalt took legal action to keep fraud investigators from scrutinizing groups connected to the Koch network, which went on to spend $2.5 million to support Laxalt's governor campaign.[33]


Laxalt did not run for re-election, choosing instead to run for Nevada state governor; he was succeeded by Democrat Aaron Ford on January 7, 2019.

2018 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

Laxalt was the Republican nominee for Governor of Nevada in the 2018 election, defeating four other candidates to win the nomination.[34] Laxalt lost to Democratic nominee and chair of the Clark County Commission Steve Sisolak in the general election; Sisolak become the first Democrat to win the governorship in 20 years.

Asked if there were any gun violence prevention measures Nevada needs to implement to prevent another October 1st tragedy, Laxalt responded “You know, I think it's important to slow down on this October 1.”[35] Laxalt was asked what he would do if elected to put in place the initiative voters passed to enact universal background checks and responded “I wouldn't change anything as governor.”[35]

Asked if he would propose a referendum to put Nevada's abortion law up for a vote, Laxalt responded “We are going to look into it.”[36]


President Donald Trump[edit]

An endorsement of Laxalt for Nevada Governor was announced on June 12.[37]

Governor Brian Sandoval's decision not to endorse[edit]

Incumbent Republican Governor Brian Sandoval did not endorse a candidate in the election to succeed him, saying he would not "support a candidate that is going to undo anything that I put forward."[38] During Sandoval's tenure as Governor, he and Laxalt had disputed over tax policy, environmental regulations and gambling regulations.[38]

Other Nevada Republicans[edit]

U.S. Senator Dean Heller, Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison, State Treasurer and 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Dan Schwartz, former Reno mayor Bob Cashell and Sparks mayor Geno Martini endorsed Laxalt.

Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro[edit]

Laxalt was endorsed by Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro in November 2017 after he announced his candidacy.[39] Laxalt faced scrutiny for declining to disavow Antinoro's campaign support.[40] Antinoro was accused of rape in 2014.[41] A 2016 independent investigation found that Antinoro sexually harassed his top deputy.[39] Storey County Administrator Austin Osborne said in a deposition that “numerous…more than 10” complaints including sexual harassment allegations were filed against Antinoro.[42] After the sexual harassment investigation, Antinoro faced a recall election.[43] In April 2018, Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center called on Laxalt to rescind the endorsement and to investigate multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Antinoro.[39] In May 2018, Laxalt dismissed criticism of his refusal to reject the endorsement or denounce Antinoro as “political theatrics.”[44] Laxalt was scheduled to campaign with Antinoro at the end of May 2018 but Antinoro announced he would not attend after the event was picked up in media.[45] In July 2018, Laxalt released the long-awaited investigative report into Antinoro and announced that he would not pursue criminal charges.[46] The investigation was criticized for not interviewing Antinoro, alleged co-perpetrators or multiple rape victims.[47] After the investigation concluded, Laxalt announced he would no longer campaign with Antinoro or use his endorsement.[48] An October 2018 letter showed that the Attorney's General office met with former deputy sheriff Melanie Keener in early 2016, at which time the deputy shared details of Antinoro's history of sexually harassing employees.[49]

Electoral history[edit]

Nevada Attorney General election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Adam Laxalt 251,539 46.21 +10.21
Democratic Ross Miller 246,671 45.31 -7.49
Independent American Jonathan Hansen 30,530 5.61 -2.19
None of These Candidates None of These Candidates 15,643 2.87 -0.83
Total votes 544,383 100
Republican gain from Democratic Swing +18.05
Nevada gubernatorial election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Steve Sisolak 480,007 49.39% +25.51%
Republican Adam Laxalt 440,320 45.31% -25.27%
None of These Candidates None of These Candidates 18,865 1.94% -0.94%
Independent Ryan Bundy 13,891 1.43% N/A
Independent American Russell Best 10,076 1.04% -1.62%
Libertarian Jared Lord 8,640 0.89% N/A
Total votes 971,799 100.0% N/A
Democratic win (new seat)


  1. ^ "Indy Fast Facts: Adam Laxalt". Nevada Independent. Las Vegas, NV. October 1, 2018.
  2. ^ Myers, Laura (November 4, 2014). "Nevada joins the big red wave". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  3. ^ Ralston, Jon (May 26, 2014). "Who is Adam Laxalt?". Politico. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Clausing, Jeri (February 21, 2013). "Pete Domenici Acknowledges Son From Extramarital Affair 30 Years Ago". Associated Press.
  5. ^ Roberts, Roxanne (February 22, 2013). "Domenici's 'secret' son has deep résumé". Albuquerque Journal.
  6. ^ Nikolewski, Rob (February 20, 2013). "Domenici affair causes stir from DC to NM". The Government Watchdog. Chicago, IL: Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.
  7. ^ "From the Archives: Hello, My Name Is . . . | Washingtonian". Washingtonian. 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  8. ^ "Laxalt racked up eight traffic tickets, including five for speeding, over ten year period". Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  9. ^ "Campaign 2018: Laxalt finally handles 15-year-old speeding ticket". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2018-08-31. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  10. ^ Ralston, Jon. "Who is Adam Laxalt?". Politico. Politico. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  11. ^ Whaley, Sean (January 14, 2014). "Laxalt enters Nevada attorney general race". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  12. ^ Laxalt, Adam. "An End to 'Don't Ask'?". National review. National review. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Author's Biography, Adam Laxalt". The American Spectator. Alexandria, VA. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  14. ^ "General Adam Paul Laxalt Sworn in as Nevada's 33rd Attorney General". The Official Nevada Attorney General Website. Carson City, NV. January 5, 2015.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  15. ^ a b "The Official Nevada Attorney General Website".
  16. ^ Myers, Laura (August 21, 2014). "Laxalt's ex-law firm comes to his defense". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas, NV.
  17. ^ Hagar, Ray (January 14, 2014). "Adam Laxalt answers the tough questions at beginning of campaign for attorney general, hoping to get them out of the way". Reno Gazette-Journal. Reno, NV.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  18. ^ Laxalt's ex-law firm comes to his defense.
  19. ^ "Adam Laxalt answers the tough questions".
  20. ^ "Nevada Attorney General election, 2014". Middleton, WI: Lucy Burns Institute. 2014.
  21. ^ "Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval Inaugural". Retrieved October 14th, 2015.
  22. ^ Melissa, Gomez. "New program provides Nevada veterans free legal help". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  23. ^ Perea, Robert. "Laxalt rallies supporters on rural tour". The Nevada Independent.
  24. ^ NRA (2017-04-28), Adam Laxalt: 2017 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, retrieved 2018-09-17
  25. ^ "Laxalt support for 'Red Flag' gun confiscation laws came after he panned similar idea in 2017 NRA speech". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  26. ^ "Laxalt on his (sometimes icy) relationship with Sandoval: 'I hope to earn his vote'". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  27. ^ "Dems Say Laxalt Needs to Reveal Interactions With the NRA". kkoh-am. 2018-02-28. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  28. ^ a b "Laxalt signs Nevada on to support Alabama abortion restrictions; had backed similar law in Texas". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  29. ^ "Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt" (PDF). SCOTUS Blog.
  30. ^ "Texas Law Could Lead To Closure Of Clinics That Offer Abortions". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  31. ^ "Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Restrictions". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  32. ^ "Adam Laxalt adds name to lawsuit concerning top GOP donors". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2018-06-25. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  33. ^ "Laxalt joined Koch brothers, his campaign allies, in bid to block ExxonMobil fraud probe". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  34. ^ Rindels, Michelle (November 1, 2017). "Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a rising Republican favorite, officially enters 2018 gubernatorial race". The Nevada Independent. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  35. ^ a b "Nevada AG Adam Laxalt talks Q1, bump stocks, taxes and Burnett tapes". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2018-02-15. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  36. ^ Russell, Terri. "AG Laxalt files anti-abortion court briefs despite 1990 referendum". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  37. ^ "Trump endorses Laxalt in Nevada governor's race". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  38. ^ a b "Sandoval will not back candidate in Nevada governor's race". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2018-08-17. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  39. ^ a b c "Major Reno developer to Laxalt: Investigate sexual harassment claims against embattled Storey County sheriff". Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  40. ^ "Records show Adam Laxalt was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer as a teen". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  41. ^ Group, Sinclair Broadcast. "On Your Side: Storey County Sheriff race turns ugly". KRNV. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  42. ^ "Former Storey County deputy sheriff, her career in tatters, talks about filing complaint against sheriff". Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  43. ^ "Group files recall petition against Storey County Sheriff". KTNV. 2016-11-24. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  44. ^ Bleakley, Caroline (2018-05-30). "Nevada Gubernatorial Republican Forum". LASVEGASNOW. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  45. ^ "Embattled Storey County sheriff backs out of attending political barbecue this weekend". Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  46. ^ "Laxalt finds no crimes committed by embattled Storey County sheriff Gerald Antinoro". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  47. ^ "Joey Gilbert letter to AG 7/10". Scribd. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  48. ^ "Laxalt: No plans to file criminal charges against embattled Storey County sheriff, won't campaign with him". Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  49. ^ "10/17/18 Letter from the Nevada Attorney General's office" (PDF). 17 October 2018.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Catherine Cortez Masto
Attorney General of Nevada
Succeeded by
Aaron Ford
Party political offices
Preceded by
Brian Sandoval
Republican nominee for Governor of Nevada
Most recent