A Reno television station’s decision to pull an unsubstantiated Democratic ad attacking Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt is evidence that Democrats and his opponent “will say anything to win this race, no matter if it aligns with the facts or not,” and that Nevadans “can’t trust their words,” Laxalt told National Review.
On Tuesday, Reno’s CBS affiliate, KTVN 2 News, pulled an ad from the Democratic Senate Majority PAC after receiving a series of letters from Republican and Democratic lawyers. The Republican lawyer, Ryan Dollar, called the ad “flagrantly false,” while Democratic lawyer Marc Elias said it was “carefully documented and supported.”
News that the ad was pulled by the station was first reported by Politico.
The ad starts out praising incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, saying that “when COVID was crushing our economy” she passed a rescue plan for small businesses, tourism, and schools. But, of course, Laxalt “is standing in the way,” according to the ad.
The ad accuses Laxalt of opposing relief for Nevada’s economy, saying ‘No’ to lower prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare, and opposing expanding the child tax credit for working parents.
But in his letter to the station, Dollar, a lawyer representing the National Republican Senatorial Committee, says none of that is true, and none of it is backed up by the articles the ad cites.
For example, one of the news articles about the child tax credit the ad cites to back up its claim that Laxalt opposes expanding the credit doesn’t even mention Laxalt. The other article the ad cites quotes Laxalt opposing President Joe Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and the Mexican border, and the Democrat’s proposed $3.5 trillion spending bill. “It’s something that we cannot afford and it’s not something that we want,” Laxalt said. But the ad doesn’t even mention Laxalt’s position on expanding the child tax credit.
The articles the ad cites also don’t reference Laxalt’s position on economic relief or prescription drug costs. “Laxalt’s positions on these issues are never even mentioned,” Dollar wrote.
In a response letter, Elias complained that the ad does not concern the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which “has suffered no injury.” Its complaints should be treated as the station would treat a complaint “from any other viewer.”
In each of the three cases – Laxalt’s alleged opposition to economic relief, lowering prescription drug prices, and expanding the child tax credit – Elias cites Laxalt’s opposition to the $3.5 trillion spending plan. From Elias’s perspective, because Laxalt opposes the $3.5 trillion spending bill overall, it’s fair game to claim that he also opposes everything in it or that is being negotiated.
There is “no question that the Build Back Better agenda would deliver relief for Nevada’s economy,” Elias wrote, citing “experts” who have concluded it would support more than 4 million jobs annually.
“If (Laxalt) wished to express support for pieces of President Biden’s proposals, he was free to note that his opposition to the plans was not complete,” Elias wrote. “Instead, he has opposed them as a whole.”
Dollar responded that “Laxalt’s opposition to an initial, top-line spending number – a whopping $3.5 trillion – does not indicate his position on potential line items within a yet-to-be finalized legislative proposal.”
According to Politico, a lawyer for the station ultimately sided with the Republicans. “I have consulted with our attorney and while this is a difficult decision, we will be pulling the ad as of tomorrow unless new documentation or information come in that changes the course of our decision,” the lawyer wrote to both parties. Other Nevada TV stations are still running the ad, Politico reported.
In a statement to National Review, Laxalt said the ad controversy shows Masto and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are desperate.
“Masto has been in office for five years and what’s been the result? Sky-high unemployment, massive inflation, a crisis at our border, and embarrassment abroad,” he said in a prepared statement. “This shows that she and Schumer will say anything to win this race, no matter if it aligns with the facts or not and proves to Nevadans that they can’t trust their words.”
The 2022 race in Nevada could be critical in determining control of the Senate. Laxalt is one of two Republicans who have jumped in to take on Masto, who was first elected in 2016. Laxalt, who launched his campaign in August, told National Review this week that first and foremost he is running to be the 51st Republican vote in the Senate. He also is an advocate for reining in Big Tech and securing the U.S. border.