Adam Laxalt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Adam Laxalt
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 45)
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseJaime Laxalt
RelativesPaul Laxalt (grandfather)
  • Politician
  • attorney
WebsiteCampaign website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service2005–2010
UnitJudge Advocate General's Corps
Battles/warsIraq War
AwardsJoint Service Commendation Medal

Adam Paul Laxalt (/ˈlæksɔːlt/; born August 31, 1978[1]) is an American attorney and politician who served as the 33rd Nevada Attorney General from 2015 to 2019. A member of the Republican Party, he was an unsuccessful candidate for governor of Nevada in 2018 and for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

Laxalt is the son of former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico and grandson of former Nevada governor and U.S. senator Paul Laxalt. He graduated from Georgetown University and its law school before working as an aide to then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John R. Bolton and Virginia U.S. Senator John Warner. He worked as a lawyer in private practice and was a member of the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps from 2005 to 2010.

Elected in 2014, Laxalt served one term as the attorney general of Nevada from 2015 to 2019. In that role, he filed legal briefs in support of laws restricting abortion, challenged federal environmental protection regulations, opposed some gun regulations, and opposed a multi-state investigation into ExxonMobil's role in climate change.

He unsuccessfully ran for governor of Nevada in 2018, losing to Democrat Steve Sisolak. Laxalt co-chaired Donald Trump's 2020 unsuccessful reelection campaign in Nevada. An election denier, Laxalt is a proponent of the disproven conspiracy theory that large-scale fraud occurred in Nevada's election and sought to overturn the election results after Trump lost the 2020 election and refused to concede.

Laxalt later ran for the United States Senate in 2022, and was chosen as the Republican nominee though he lost to the incumbent, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.

Early life and education

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 parents did not publicly acknowledge his paternity until 2013.[2][3] At that time, Domenici acknowledged that Laxalt was his son and was born as a result of an extramarital affair.[3]

After graduating from St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School, a college preparatory school in Alexandria, Virginia, Laxalt enrolled at Tulane University. After attending Tulane for two years, he transferred to Georgetown University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and government.[4][5] He graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with a Juris Doctor degree in 2005.


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.[2] 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.[6]

Military service

Laxalt spent five years in the United States Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps.[2] He had postings at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy and in Iraq, and a stint at the U.S. Naval Academy as an assistant law professor.[7]

Attorney general of Nevada

After practicing with Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Laxalt considered a campaign for Nevada Attorney General.[8] In January 2014, he announced his candidacy.[9] Laxalt was the Republican nominee in the general election.[8] After a bitter and costly general election campaign, Laxalt defeated Democratic nominee Ross Miller.[10][11] During the campaign, Laxalt said that he opposed same-sex marriage; in 2010, he said that he opposed LGBT individuals openly serving in the military.[12][13]

Laxalt was sworn in as attorney general of Nevada on January 5, 2015.[11] As AG, he created the "Federalism Unit" within the AG's office and challenged federal environmental protection regulations, including the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the United States Rule and the Bureau of Land Management's Sage Grouse Plan.[14] Laxalt also joined lawsuits against the Obama administration over a U.S. Department of Labor regulation to protect certain employees' right to overtime pay,[15] and over Obama's executive action creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) programs.[16]

In a 2017 speech at the National Rifle Association of America's general convention, Laxalt criticized a red flag bill that the Nevada Senate had passed. Months afterwards in 2018, the NRA called for greater adoption of these laws,[17] he recommended that the legislature consider such a law.[18]

As attorney general, Laxalt signed Nevada onto at least four known lawsuits supporting abortion restrictions in other states.[19] He signed onto two lawsuits supporting bans on the most commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure.[19] Pro-choice Republican 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[20] in support of Texas's TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law.

Laxalt signed onto a California lawsuit to support keeping secret the identities of political donors, including one of his biggest political donors, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, backed by Charles and David Koch.[21] He 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 gubernatorial campaign.[22]

Laxalt created the Office of Military Legal Assistance, which provided free legal services to veterans.[23]

2018 Nevada gubernatorial campaign

Laxalt was the Republican nominee for governor of Nevada in the 2018 election, defeating four other candidates to win the nomination.[24] He lost to the Democratic nominee, Clark County Commission chair Steve Sisolak, in the general election; Sisolak become the first Democrat to win the governorship in 20 years.[25] Sisolak received 49.39% of the vote to Laxalt's 45.31%.[26]

Asked whether he would propose a referendum to put Nevada's abortion law up for a vote, Laxalt said, "We are going to look into it."[27]

During his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, Laxalt released a health care plan that "reiterated Laxalt's long standing opposition to Obamacare, but pledged not to roll back Medicaid coverage the law helped extend to more than 200,000 of Nevada's poorest residents."[28]

Laxalt was endorsed by President Donald Trump.[29] 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."[30] During Sandoval's tenure as governor, he and Laxalt had a frequently tense relationship,[18] with disagreements over tax policy, environmental regulations and gambling regulations.[30]

Laxalt was endorsed by Storey County Sheriff Gerald Antinoro in November 2017.[31] Laxalt faced scrutiny for initially declining to disavow Antinoro's campaign support.[32] A 2016 investigation found that Antinoro had sexually harassed his top deputy.[31] Storey County Administrator Austin Osborne said in a deposition that numerous complaints including sexual harassment allegations were filed against Antinoro.[33] In July 2018, Laxalt released an investigative report into Antinoro and announced that he would not pursue criminal charges.[34] After the investigation concluded, Laxalt announced he would no longer campaign with Antinoro or use his endorsement.[35]

Donald Trump 2020 election campaign

Laxalt co-chaired Donald Trump's 2020 reelection campaign in Nevada.[36] Before Election Day, he unsuccessfully sought to stop Nevada from counting early-voting ballots from Clark County (the state's most populous, Democratic-leaning county, containing Las Vegas).[36]

After Trump lost Nevada to Joe Biden, Laxalt claimed without evidence that large-scale voter fraud had occurred in Nevada and sought to overturn the election results.[37][38][39][40] He and other Trump campaign officials provided no information supporting their claim of fraud.[38] Laxalt presented a list of 3,062 voters he said were non-residents who voted absentee in Clark County. Nevada residents such as military personnel, students, and congressional staffers do not have to live in Nevada to be eligible voters in the state.[41][42] At least 146 of the names on Laxalt's list, which the Trump campaign claimed was evidence of "criminal voter fraud", were linked to military base addresses or diplomatic postal addresses.[42][43]

Laxalt also claimed that 200,000 mail-in ballot votes were verified by machine only and that these machines were unable to match signatures on ballots to those on file; in fact, ballots that could not be assessed by machines were verified by people.[39]

2022 U.S. Senate campaign

In August 2021, Laxalt announced his candidacy for the 2022 United States Senate election in Nevada, challenging the incumbent, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto. He announced his candidacy with a video in which he said that "the radical left, rich elites, woke corporations, academia and the media" were "taking over America".[44] The campaign was anticipated to be among the most competitive Senate races in 2022.[45][46]

Laxalt won the Republican primary in June 2022.[47]

On November 12, 2022, major media outlets projected that Cortez Masto had been reelected, guaranteeing the Democrats 50 Senate seats and control of the chamber in the 118th Congress.[48]

Subsequent activities

In April 2023, Laxalt became the chair of the Never Back Down Super PAC, a group supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for President in 2024.[49]

Personal life

In 1997, Laxalt was arrested for driving under the influence. He has acknowledged having a drinking problem in his teens. He received treatment at the Hazelden Foundation and says he has been sober since the age of 19.[50]

Laxalt is married to Jaime, with whom he has four children.[51]

Electoral history

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 971,799 100.00 N/A
Democratic gain from Republican Swing
2022 United States Senate election in Nevada[52]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Catherine Cortez Masto (incumbent) 498,316 48.81% +1.71%
Republican Adam Laxalt 490,388 48.04% +3.37%
None of These Candidates 12,441 1.22% -2.59%
Independent Barry Lindemann 8,075 0.79% N/A
Libertarian Neil Scott 6,422 0.63% N/A
Independent American Barry Rubinson 5,208 0.51% -1.04%
Total votes 1,020,850 100.00
Democratic hold


  1. ^ "Indy Fast Facts: Adam Laxalt". Nevada Independent. Las Vegas, NV. October 1, 2018. Archived from the original on October 4, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Ralston, Jon (May 26, 2014). "Who is Adam Laxalt?". Politico. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Clausing, Jeri (February 21, 2013). "Pete Domenici Acknowledges Son From Extramarital Affair 30 Years Ago". Associated Press. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  4. ^ Laxalt, Adam. "Adam Paul Laxalt". LinkedIn. Retrieved November 6, 2022.[self-published source]
  5. ^ Roberts, Roxanne (February 22, 2013). "Domenici's 'secret' son has deep résumé". Albuquerque Journal.
  6. ^ Whaley, Sean (January 14, 2014). "Laxalt enters Nevada attorney general race". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  7. ^ Myers, Laura (August 22, 2014). "Navy job reviews praise Adam Laxalt". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  8. ^ a b Myers, Laura (August 21, 2014). "Laxalt's ex-law firm comes to his defense". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Nevada Attorney General election, 2014". Middleton, WI: Lucy Burns Institute. 2014.
  11. ^ a b Rindels, Michelle (January 5, 2015). "Nevada governor, other top state officials sworn in". Associated Press.
  12. ^ Hagar, Ray (October 8, 2014). "Miller vs. Laxalt: Polar opposites on same-sex marriage". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  13. ^ Doughman, Andrew (February 12, 2014). "AG candidate Laxalt says he'd fight to uphold gay marriage ban". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  14. ^ Perea, Robert (November 9, 2017). "Laxalt rallies supporters on rural tour". The Nevada Independent. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018.
  15. ^ Chereb, Sandra (September 21, 2016). "Nevada, 20 other states challenge Obama's new overtime rules". Pahrump Valley Times. Archived from the original on October 29, 2021.
  16. ^ Ley, Ana (January 26, 2015). "Lawsuit over Obama immigration action divides Sandoval, Laxalt". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on January 28, 2015.
  17. ^ Snyder, Riley (July 23, 2018). "Laxalt support for 'Red Flag' gun confiscation laws came after he panned similar idea in 2017 NRA speech". Archived from the original on September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  18. ^ a b DeHaven, James (August 14, 2018). "Laxalt on his (sometimes icy) relationship with Sandoval: 'I hope to earn his vote'". Reno Gazette Journal. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023.
  19. ^ a b Rindells, Michelle (July 13, 2018). "Laxalt signs Nevada on to support Alabama abortion restrictions; had backed similar law in Texas". The Nevada Independent. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  20. ^ "Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt" (PDF). SCOTUS Blog.
  21. ^ Lochhead, Colton (June 25, 2018). "Adam Laxalt adds name to lawsuit concerning top GOP donors". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  22. ^ DeHaven, James (September 10, 2018). "Laxalt joined Koch brothers, his campaign allies, in bid to block ExxonMobil fraud probe". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  23. ^ Melissa, Gomez (May 24, 2016). "New program provides Nevada veterans free legal help". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Rindels, Michelle; Snyder, Riley; Messerly, Megan (January 7, 2019). "Sisolak takes Nevada's helm as first Democratic governor in two decades, promises to follow in Sandoval's footsteps". Nevada Independent.
  26. ^ 2018 Election Results: Governor, Nevada Secretary of State.
  27. ^ Russell, Terri (June 13, 2018). "AG Laxalt files anti-abortion court briefs despite 1990 referendum". KOLO 8. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  28. ^ DeHaven, James (October 8, 2018). "When it comes to health care, Steve Sisolak and Adam Laxalt differ on Medicaid, Obamacare". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  29. ^ Lochhead, Colton (June 12, 2018). "Trump endorses Laxalt in Nevada governor's race". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  30. ^ a b Lochhead, Colton (August 17, 2018). "Sandoval will not back candidate in Nevada governor's race". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  31. ^ a b Snyder, Riley; Valley, Jackie; Brown, Soni (April 11, 2018). "Major Reno developer to Laxalt: Investigate sexual harassment claims against embattled Storey County sheriff". The Nevada Independent. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  32. ^ DeHaven, James (September 28, 2018). "Records show Adam Laxalt was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer as a teen". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  33. ^ Brown, Soni (April 22, 2018). "Former Storey County deputy sheriff, her career in tatters, talks about filing complaint against sheriff". Nevada Independent. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  34. ^ "Laxalt finds no crimes committed by embattled Storey County sheriff Gerald Antinoro". Reno Gazette Journal. July 9, 2018. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  35. ^ Snyder, Riley (July 9, 2018). "Laxalt: No plans to file criminal charges against embattled Storey County sheriff, won't campaign with him". The Nevada Independent. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  36. ^ a b Ritter, Ken (November 2, 2020). "Trump campaign, GOP lose bid to stop Vegas-area ballot count". Reno Gazette-Journal. Associated Press.
  37. ^ Komenda, Ed; DeHaven, James (November 17, 2020). "Without evidence, Nevada GOP continues legal push to question Nevada's election integrity". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  38. ^ a b Kane, Arthur (November 11, 2020). "Voter fraud unproven in Nevada, despite multiple Trump campaign claims". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  39. ^ a b "Fact Check: Nevada Attorney General did not interfere with 200,000 signature verifications in 2020 presidential election". Reuters. March 16, 2021. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  40. ^ Sadler, John (November 17, 2020). "Campaign wants court to declare Trump the winner in Nevada". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  41. ^ Randazzo, Sara; Zusha, Elinson (November 18, 2020). "Nevada Election Results: the 3,000 Challenged Votes". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  42. ^ a b Kime, Patricia (November 30, 2020). "Lawsuit Dropped Over More Than 3,000 Absentee Votes Including Military Ballots".
  43. ^ Goree, Alexis (November 7, 2020). "Military wife accused in GOP voter fraud claim speaks out". KSNV. Archived from the original on November 10, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  44. ^ Shepard, Steven (August 17, 2021). "Laxalt launches Senate bid in Nevada". Politico.
  45. ^ Stern, Gabe (June 21, 2022). "US Senate race promises to be fight for nonpartisan voters". Associated Press.
  46. ^ Pathe, Simone (June 9, 2022). "The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022". CNN.
  47. ^ Medina, Jennifer (June 15, 2022). "Adam Laxalt wins the Republican Senate primary in Nevada, setting up a high-stakes November fight". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  48. ^ Vakil, Caroline (November 12, 2022). "Cortez Masto wins in Nevada, securing Democratic control of Senate". The Hill. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  49. ^ "Longtime Trump ally Laxalt joins PAC supporting DeSantis". AP NEWS. April 22, 2023.
  50. ^ 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. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  51. ^ Mayorquin, Orlando (June 10, 2022). "Adam Laxalt is running in the Nevada Senate race. What to know". USA Today. Retrieved October 23, 2022.
  52. ^ "Silver State 2022 - General Election Results - U.S. Senate". Nevada Secretary of State.

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Preceded by Attorney General of Nevada
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Nevada
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Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Nevada
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