Laxalt Concedes: Sisolak To Become Nevada’s First Democratic Governor Elected Since 1994

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Andrew Kerr Investigative Reporter
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Republican Adam Laxalt conceded to Democratic candidate Steve Sisolak, closing out a contentious governor race in Nevada.

Sisolak had 50 percent of the vote to Laxalt’s 44.8 percent at the time of concession, according to The New York Times. Sisolak’s victory breaks the Republican hold on the Nevada governor’s mansion, becoming the first Democrat to be elected governor in the state since 1994.

Both sides combined spent more than $22 million on the contentious race in 2018 alone. Polls showed Sisolak was in a statistical tie with his Republican opponent in the lead-up to election night, according to Real Clear Politics.

Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission and former member of the Nevada Board of Regents, centered his campaign on education issues and seized on term-limited Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s refusal to endorse Laxalt.

Laxalt, who has served as the state’s attorney general since 2015, has sparred with Sandoval on policy issues, leading Sandoval to announce in December that he could not “support a candidate who seeks to undo what we’ve done for the past seven years.”

Sisolak framed his gubernatorial campaign on an image of him raising his two daughters as a single father — a backstory that helped him earn the endorsements of high-profile Democrats like former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 22: (L-R) Clark County Commission Chairman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, former U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Democratic candidate for Nevada's 3rd House District Susie Lee, and Democratic candidate for Nevada's 4th House District Steven Horsford hold hands and raise their arms after speaking at a get-out-the-vote rally at the Cox Pavilion as Obama campaigns for Nevada Democratic candidates on October 22, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Early voting in Clark County, Nevada began on October 20 and has recorded the highest turnout during the first two days of early voting in a midterm election. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 22: (L-R) Clark County Commission Chairman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, former U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Jacky Rosen (D-NV) (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

But Sisolak’s ex-wife, Lori “Dallas” Garland, told TheDCNF that his single-father backstory is “bull.” Garland said she felt like “a total prisoner” throughout her 13-year marriage with Sisolak and that he bruised her neck in an August 2000 incident. (RELATED: Exclusive: He’s Running For Governor As A Single Dad, But His Ex-Wife Says He Treated Her ‘Like A Prisoner,’ Bruised Her Neck)

TheDCNF reviewed pictures of Garland’s bruised neck and a contemporaneous diary entry detailing the incident. The Sisolak campaign did not deny that the physical altercation occurred, but provided sworn statements from Garland’s daughters — who the campaign said witnessed the incident as children — that said Garland was the aggressor and injured Sisolak.

Family matters also hounded Laxalt in the lead-up to Election Day.

A dozen members of Laxalt’s extended family wrote an op-ed in the Reno Gazette-Journal in October that accused the Republican of exploiting their family name in his rise in Nevada politics.

The Laxalt campaign said in response to the op-ed: “Adam has a large family and some distant relatives are lifelong liberal activists, donors, and operatives. They’ve done this many times – going back to 2014 – and it’s never had any impact.”

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