By John Celock
The grandson of a former Nevada governor has kicked off his campaign for the office.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) formally entered the governor’s race Wednesday, confirming long speculation that he was planning to seek the state’s top job. The grandson of former Gov. Paul Laxalt (R), also a former U.S. senator, Laxalt said that he wants to focus on economic development, education and safety as governor.
“I believe in this state and I believe that we have a tremendous future in front of us,” Laxalt said in a video released Wednesday.
Laxalt also held a rally in Las Vegas Wednesday to enter the GOP race for the open governorship. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is term limited next year. Laxalt’s campaign kickoff was delayed a month following the Las Vegas shooting.
Laxalt, 39, touched on his battle with alcoholism and his family life in the video. Laxalt is the son of Michelle Laxalt and former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), but was not publicly acknowledged by Domenici until 2013. Domenici, who died in September, was married to his wife when he had an affair with Michelle Laxalt. In the video Laxalt just noted that his mother was a single parent.
Laxalt spent more time focusing on his battle with alcoholism, including his decision to enter a treatment facility while in college.
“I started drinking in middle school and that continued to accelerate when I got into high school,” he said in the video. “I had to go to a treatment facility. Trying to maintain sobriety is one of the toughest challenges I have ever faced. You start from the bottom and try to rebuild everything.”
Laxalt, a Navy veteran, was elected to the attorney general’s office in 2014, becoming at the time the nation’s youngest attorney general. Laxalt’s 2014 victory came over then Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller (D), the son of former Gov. Bob Miller (D). Miller, who had been considered a likely 2018 gubernatorial contender if he had won the attorney general’s office, is considering a 2018 bid for lieutenant governor.
Laxalt has been considered one of the nation’s most conservative attorneys general, frequently battling former President Barack Obama on federal issues. In the state, Laxalt has focused on human trafficking prevention and clearing a backlog in processing rape kits.
Laxalt is entering what is likely to be a competitive race to succeed Sandoval. On the Republican side, Laxalt will face off against state Treasurer Dan Schwartz for the party’s nomination. Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani and Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak are both seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
The state’s competitive gubernatorial race comes amid a likely competitive U.S. Senate battle. On the Republican side, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller will face a competitive GOP primary from businessman Danny Tarkanian, while Democrats are likely to nominate U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen for the Senate seat.