Ugly GOP primary comes to an end as swing state voters set to decide who will face tough Democrat incumbent

With a hotly contested Republican primary finally wrapping up in one of the key battleground states, voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to decide which candidate will face off against a promising Democratic incumbent.

In the weeks leading up to the Nevada primary, former U.S. Army Captain Sam Brown and former Trump administration official Dr. Jeffrey Gunter have been battling it out, trying to position themselves as the true “America First” candidates in the race.

Both men fought publicly and privately to win former President Trump’s endorsement, but Brown, an Afghanistan war veteran who was seriously injured while deployed in 2008, ultimately prevailed in a last-minute weigh-in on Sunday for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

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At left are former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland Jeff Gunter and former U.S. Army Captain Sam Brown. (Sam Brown, Department of State, Nevada)

But Gunther hopes his “MAGA” message since the start of his campaign last year, and his contributions to Trump as ambassador to Iceland, can lead to an unexpected comeback victory.

The winner will face a tough task taking on well-funded Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen, who the party is counting on to keep the Silver State firmly Democratic in a year when Republicans are expected to perform well nationally.

Polling on this election is scarce, and both Gunter and Brown have touted their own internal polling results as evidence of their lead.

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Donald Trump

Former President Trump spoke at a campaign rally in Sunset Park in Las Vegas on June 9, 2024, pointing to the teleprompter and saying it wasn’t working. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Gunter is putting the bulk of his campaign funds behind Brown, who has the backing of national Republicans who see him as his best chance to win back the seat — an endorsement that ultimately drew Trump to her and likely explains why she is widely seen as the front-runner in the race.

Brown also has the backing of Nevada’s popular Republican governor, Joe Lombard, who rarely stays out of the limelight and rarely voices opinions on issues that draw national attention.

Gunter has garnered some high-profile backers in the race, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), as well as former Republican congressman and New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin.

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Jacky Rosen

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) waits to speak at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Brightline West Las Vegas station on April 22, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Brown and Gunter are facing a crowded field of candidates that includes former state Rep. Jim Marchant and veteran military pilot Tony Grady. Rosen is not facing a formidable primary challenger.

Democrats currently hold a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, and the Nevada election, along with those in West Virginia, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland and Arizona, are seen as Republicans’ biggest opportunity for an upset.

Polling places in Nevada are open from 7am to 7pm Pacific time.

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