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Sam Brown Wins Nevada Republican Primary

State of the Union: The retired Army captain will face Democrat Jacky Rosen in November general.
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Retired Army Captain Sam Brown will lead the Republican ticket for Senate in Nevada this fall.

Brown defeated dermatologist Jeff Gunter, Trump’s former ambassador to Iceland, with a dominating 57.9 percent of the vote. Brown’s central message of faith and service resonated with Nevadan voters who selected him from a crowded primary field.


Brown, a 40-year-old Purple Heart recipient whose face was scarred during the war in Afghanistan, was a late riser in the 2022 Nevada Republican Senate primary where he lost to former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt. Brown had little name recognition at the start of that race but eventually stormed into second place with an impressive 34 percent of the vote in a crowded primary field after grassroots members of the GOP rallied around his insurgent campaign.

The ultimate swing state, Nevada is a likely bellwether in the 2024 presidential and congressional races. In the most recent polling from the state, Fox News found that the former President Trump is 5 points clear of President Biden among 1,000 likely voters in the state. Biden defeated Trump by nearly 3 points in the 2020 election for president in Nevada.

Although Trump failed to endorse Brown during a high-profile weekend jaunt in Las Vegas days before the primary, he did give him the nod in a statement posted to Truth Social later that night. 

“Sam Brown is a FEARLESS AMERICAN PATRIOT, a Purple Heart Recipient, who has proven he has the ‘PURE GRIT’ and COURAGE to take on our Enemies, both Foreign and Domestic,” Trump wrote. “Brown has my complete and total endorsement.”

Trump’s late endorsement was criticized by MAGA influencers on Twitter who accused Brown of being a “Trump hater.”


Brown’s wife, Amy Larsen, looks to play an influential role in the campaign going forward. Amy went public with her personal story of getting an abortion at 24 and the unwavering support she’s received from Brown even though he supported the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The Browns’ openness on the issue may ruffle a few conservative feathers, but will likely lead to a tighter race against Democratic incumbent, Sen. Jacky Rosen, in the general.

Abortion was a loser for Republicans in the 2023 elections, where reliably red Kentucky and Ohio lurched  to the left with abortion on the ballot. Brown’s more temperate tone on an issue that has supercharged the Democrat vote may strike the perfect balance to allow him to compete with Rosen who holds a comfortable lead in early polling.

“I felt all alone,” Mrs. Brown said of her abortion during an NBC News interview in February. “I felt really overwhelmed, and I also felt a lot of shame. I got to a very dark place and I remember being in my room and crying out: ‘God help me.’”

And the man who helped her most during that experience was her now-husband, Sam. Amy, who worked as a dietitian in the Army, met Brown soon after her abortion, and soon after he returned from Afghanistan disfigured and traumatized, but with a new lease on life. Amy took a liking to his courage and determination. 

“He was facing this major trauma in his life, and he was disfigured as a 24-year-old. He had scars on his face and over his body,” Mrs. Brown said. “But yet he had joy and he had this comfort with who he was, and this confidence.”

Brown’s face was badly scarred after a roadside bomb detonated beneath his unit’s vehicle. Covered in diesel fuel, he fought unsuccessfully to put out the fire. When all hope seemed lost, he fell to his knees and cried out “Jesus save me!” It was at that moment that a gunner from his unit dumped sand on Brown and gave him what he calls a “second chance at life.” 

His next test will be to defeat Rosen, a former congresswoman. Rosen, who voted with President Trump 35 percent of the time according to FiveThirtyEight, is seen as a moderate within her party; it will be Brown’s task to highlight differences between the two if he’s to secure a tenure in Washington.