Senate Republicans landed their top recruit to challenge Democratic incumbent Jacky Rosen in Nevada: Sam Brown, a retired Army captain and Purple Heart recipient who was severely burned from a roadside bomb explosion during a deployment in Afghanistan.
Brown announced his campaign Monday, saying Rosen and President Joe Biden have "abandoned Nevada and divided America with extreme policies."
"As your senator, I will get the job done for Nevada," Brown said in a statement. "I am ready to lead and fight for you again."
Brown's entrance into the race comes as a win for Senate Republican leaders, who recruited the wounded veteran to challenge Rosen. National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Steve Daines (R., Mont.) quickly endorsed Brown on Monday, praising his "service and sacrifice." "I am very pleased that Sam is stepping up to run for the U.S. Senate," Daines said in a statement.
Daines's immediate backing of Brown reflects the Montana Republican's willingness to influence GOP primaries as the party looks to reclaim a Senate majority in 2024. Daines's predecessor, Florida Republican senator Rick Scott, opted not to intervene in top primaries during last year's races, prompting a rift with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), who lamented the party's poor "candidate quality." Daines has reversed that policy as Senate Republicans' campaign chief—in addition to Brown, Daines in late June endorsed former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, who is running to unseat Montana Democratic senator Jon Tester.
Brown applied to West Point following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2006. Two years later, he was deployed to Afghanistan, where his vehicle was hit with a roadside bomb during a mission. The explosion left Brown with severe burns and visible scarring. After medically retiring from the military, Brown pursued a business degree and moved to Nevada to start a small business that provides pharmaceuticals to veterans. The Republican ran a grassroots Senate campaign in 2022 but finished second in the primary behind Adam Laxalt, Nevada's former attorney general.
"When I was in a combat environment, nobody cared what sort of political party you were affiliated with or how you grew up. They just cared that you were going to get the job done and that everyone would be able to accomplish the mission," Brown told Fox News. "Something I bring is leadership and being focused on the mission and the people. That's what I've been trained to do and that's what I've done."
To face Rosen, Brown will first have to win a primary against former state lawmaker Jim Marchant, who in 2022 ran to become Nevada's secretary of state. Marchant lost to Democrat Francisco Aguilar by roughly 2 percentage points.