RENO, Nev. (AP) — Retired Air Force Lt. Col. and former Lt. Gov. candidate Tony Grady announced his bid for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, joining an increasingly crowded GOP field hoping to unseat Democrat Jacky Rosen in what will be one of the most closely watched Senate races next year.
The announcement came with a minute-long action movie-themed launch video, emphasizing campaign issues such as crime, illegal immigration and inflation, before showing clips of Grady in the Air Force.
“And now Washington elites want to choose our candidate?” the video read, with pictures of Rosen and President Joe Biden speaking side by side. “Not a chance.”
The GOP field includes retired Army Capt. and Purple Heart recipient Sam Brown, a former ally of Grady’s, who had long been recruited and endorsed by Washington Republicans for his ability to raise money from the party’s grassroots and his profile as a war hero in a solidly purple state known for razor-thin outcomes.
The other major Republican candidate is former state assemblyman Jim Marchant, who had pushed to eliminate voting machines during his bid for Nevada Secretary of State last year and has falsely said that all Nevada elected officials since 2006 have been “installed by the deep-state cabal.” On Monday, former Trump-appointed ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter announced his Senate campaign as well.
Grady’s stances on his website include eliminating what he called “soft on crime” policies and establishing more parental choice in public education.
Grady had stumped for Brown’s Senate bid last year, when Brown came in second place to former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt in the GOP primary. At a campaign rally in the rural town of Minden last June, Grady plugged his own campaign for lieutenant governor before referencing Brown’s military service as to why he should represent Nevada.
“He will uphold the fact that those of us who served in uniform view it as a privilege,” Grady said at the rally. “And that those who fought for freedom take something that the protected never know. And that kind of integrity is what we need in politics, because it’s lacking.”
In the speech, he also said as lieutenant governor he would fire the Nevada state board of educators, shift more power in public education curriculum to local school boards instead of the state and railed against critical race theory, a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism, which is not typically taught in public schools. Grady came in second in the GOP primary to current Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony, who defeated the incumbent Democrat last November.
“I believe in the right to life, the right of free speech, the right to bear arms,” Grady said.
Rosen, handpicked by legendary Nevada Democrat Harry Reid to run for the Senate, has steered a moderate path during her first term in the chamber. She was a first-term congresswoman from a Las Vegas-area district when she defeated GOP Sen. Dean Heller in 2018. Before that, she was president of a prominent Jewish synagogue in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson.
In 2022, Nevada featured one of the closest Senate races in the nation when incumbent U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Laxalt by just 8,000 votes. The race was decided by mail ballots that arrived at county offices days after Election Day and resulted in a nearly weeklong vote count that ended up securing Democrats’ control of the Senate.
Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Stern on Twitter: @gabestern326.
Gabe Stern, The Associated Press