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In Nevada, Cortez Masto taunts Laxalt with new ads bragging that his family supported her

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In the closing days of a bitterly fought Senate campaign, Nevada Senate Catherine Cortez Masto wants to let voters know that 14 members of her rival’s family have chosen to support her — not him.

Cortez Masto’s campaign plans to run full-page ads in English and Spanish in seven newspapers on Sunday with a letter signed by relatives of GOP Senate candidate Adam Laxalt.

The ad, first shared with NBC News, will print the letter from family members in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Reno Gazette Journal, Las Vegas Weekly, Nevada Appeal, Elko Daily Free Press, El Sol and El Mundo.

“Today we, the undersigned members of the Laxalt family, are writing in support of Sen’s re-election. Catherine Cortez Masto for the United States Senate. We believe Catherine possesses a number of qualities that speak clearly of what we like to call ‘Nevada grit,’” the letter reads from Laxalt’s relatives, including aunts and cousins. “We firmly believe that Catherine is well equipped with her very own ‘Nevada grit’ – a quality she will continue to represent in the halls of Congress as a representative of our home state for another six years.”

Nevada’s Senate race is one of the densest in the country, with a series of recent polls shows Cortez Masto and Laxalt in a dead heat. The outcome of the contest could determine the balance of the Senate, which is now narrowly in the hands of the Democrats.

The newspaper advertisements, focusing on a three-page letter reported by the Nevada Independent in Octoberis the latest attempt by Cortez Masto’s campaign to go after Laxalt’s claims to his political ancestry on the battlefield, which go back to his late grandfather, Paul Laxalt.

Paul Laxalt, a former senator and governor of Nevada, was a political institution in the state for decades. Cortez Masto’s campaign accused Adam Laxalt in state television ads of cashing in on his family name, even though he had grown up on the East Coast.

In October, Laxalt responded to the letter from his 14 family members, tweet“It’s not surprising that again a handful of relatives and spouses, half of whom do not live in Nevada and most are Democrats, support a Democrat,”

It is the second time Laxalt’s relatives have supported his opponent. In his failed bid for governor in 2018, 12 of his family members wrote an op-ed that Laxalt’s campaign “used and exploited the family name.” That led to a rebuttal from other Laxalt family members who expressed their support for him.

Former President Barack Obama at a rally for Cortez Masto and other Nevada Democrats poked fun at the Laxalt family dynamic this week.

“Maybe we all have a crazy uncle who went off the rails,” Obama said with a laugh. “But when you have a full Thanksgiving table and they all say you don’t belong in the U.S. Senate — if the people who know you best think your opponent could do better, that says something about you. That says something about Catherine.”


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