Nevada GOP challenger concedes U.S. Senate race to incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto

A man speaks into a microphone
Nevada Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt speaks to supporters during an election night campaign event on Nov. 8 in Las Vegas.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

The Republican challenger to Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada conceded on Tuesday that he had lost, saying in a statement that although the race was very close, he won’t contest the result.

“I am confident that any challenge of this election would not alter the ultimate outcome,” GOP candidate Adam Laxalt said in a tweet that campaign advisor Robert Uithoven confirmed was authentic.

Laxalt, who had the vocal endorsement of former President Trump, said he called Cortez Masto to congratulate her on her victory. The Associated Press called the race on Saturday, declaring Cortez Masto the winner.


Cortez Masto’s campaign did not immediately respond to messages about Laxalt’s concession. It came a week after the Nov. 8 election.

Nevada’s vote count took several days partly because of the mail voting system created by the Legislature in 2020 that requires counties to accept ballots postmarked by election day if they arrive up to four days later. Laxalt had an early lead that dwindled after late-counted ballots came in from the state’s population centers in Las Vegas and Reno.

Cortez Masto’s win, along with Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s victory in Arizona, gave Democrats a 50-49 edge in the Senate. Along with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote, the party will retain control of the chamber no matter the result of next month’s Georgia runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican candidate Herschel Walker.

Cortez Masto, the first Latina to serve in the Senate, was considered the most vulnerable Democratic senator in the midterm elections, and the Republican Party had high hopes of flipping the seat.

She raised far more money than Laxalt, but had to weather an onslaught of attack ads funded by national GOP groups. Cortez Masto spent nearly $47 million through mid-October, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit that tracks campaign finances and lobbying. Laxalt spent nearly $13 million during the same time.

Cortez Masto, the state’s former two-term attorney general, focused her Senate campaign on threats to abortion access nationwide and worked to court the state’s Spanish-speaking residents and hourly wage earners. She pointed out her support of a permanent pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers” and regularly visited union halls and workers groups.

Laxalt, also a former state attorney general, lost a bid for governor in 2018. He co-chaired Trump’s failed campaign in Nevada in 2020 and spent months leading efforts in the media and in courts to challenge the result as fraudulent.


He insisted that ineligible and dead voters cast ballots, that laws adopted by the Democratic-led Legislature to send mail-in ballots to every active voter invited fraud, and that Republican observers were prevented from seeing ballot counting or challenging signatures on mail-in ballots.

Only a case to keep some Las Vegas-area polling places open until people in line had cast ballots briefly survived court scrutiny. Like all the others, it was later dismissed.

Laxalt told the AP more than a year ago that he was preparing to mount legal challenges to the outcome of the 2022 vote.

“I entered this arena for my family and those all over Nevada and America who believe our country is headed in the wrong direction,” Laxalt, an attorney, said in his statement on Tuesday. He said he will “return to private life and private practice.”

“This race and the 2022 election cycle didn’t go as we hoped,” he said, “but I am proud of the race that we ran.”