It comes as no surprise that family members disagree on politics but few publish widely circulated op-eds criticizing their fellow kin.
That’s exactly what happened Monday when 12 members of Nevada Republican gubernatorial nominee Adam Laxalt’s family took to the pages of the Reno Gazette-Journal to advocate against voting for their own family member.
“The decision to write this column has not been an easy one for us,” the family members wrote. “We are writing as members of the Laxalt family who have spent our lives in Nevada, and feel compelled to protect our family name from being leveraged and exploited by Adam Laxalt, the Republican candidate for governor.”
They write that Laxalt misrepresents his background and his history in the state to Nevada’s voters.
“The simple fact is that while he may have been born in Reno, he left as an infant and was raised on the East Coast, 3,000 miles away, in Washington, D.C., and moved here only in 2013, only one year later launching his political career,” the op-ed reads. “Aside from the occasional short visit, Adam never knew the state or its people. Perhaps if he had, he would stand for Nevada's values rather than for those of his out-of-state donors.”
They also bashed him over his stance on immigration policy: “In the face of Nevada’s history as a state made of newcomers, including our own immigrant forebears, he has advocated against immigrants as well as against businesses and individuals who have moved here from other states."
The family members also seemed to predict how Laxalt would react to the column, writing that “If he responds to this column at all, it will probably be to say that he hardly knows the people writing this column.”
They conceded that he would be partly correct.
“And in many ways that would be true,” they wrote. “We never had a chance to get to know him, really—he spent his life in Washington, D.C., while we lived in Northern Nevada and grew up in public schools and on public lands. He moved to Nevada in 2013 so that he could lean on the reputation of a family that he hardly knew while tapping into support by donors who had no interest in our state or its people.”
Indeed, a spokesperson for the campaign told The Washington Post that Laxalt “has a large family and some distant relatives are lifelong liberal activists, donors and operatives.”
Laxalt, currently serving as the state’s attorney general, has been in a close election battle with Democratic candidate Steve Sisolak, a businessman and chair of the Clark County Commission. The outgoing governor, Sandoval, has pointedly declined to endorse in the race, despite cutting an ad for incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), who faces a tough race of his own.
The op-ed recalls another recent brutal family battle in Arizona last month in which six siblings of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) appeared in a searing ad against him and in favor of his Democratic opponent.