By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Republican U.S. Senate candidate, retired U.S. Army Capt. Sam Brown, said on Nevada Newsmakers Thursday that he has raised more than $1 million in the year’s third quarter and partially credits social media for spreading the word of his first-time candidacy and growing his campaign war chest.
Ironically, it was getting banned from Twitter for a time that really gave his campaign a bump, he told host Sam Shad.
Twitter had banned Brown’s account as a “spam account’ earlier this year, Brown said on a Fox News interview that gave national attention to his ban.
Twitter, however, later restored the account, although Brown said the company did not give a good explanation as to why his was considered a “spam account” in the first place.
“Twitter did me a favor in some sense, censoring me and banning me because there was no real good justification for it,” Brown told Shad.
“I’m not one of these politicians who just wants to throw out these mean tweets and make vile points just for the sake of garnering attention,” Brown said. “They admitted it was their error. But that brought in a lot of organic social-media attention to my profile, to my candidacy, to my platform, to what we are doing and I think a lot of it came through that.”
Twitter is considered by many to be the most influential social media when it comes to politics. Brown’s Twitter following has grown exponentially in seven months. Now, his Twitter account’s 73,700 followers easily outdistances that of GOP rival Adam Laxalt (45,000) and the official U.S. Senate Twitter account of Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto (58,000). However, Cortez-Masto has 91,000 Twitter followers when her U.S. Senate and campaign Twitter accounts are combined.
Brown also has an official campaign Twitter account but so far, it has less than 200 followers.
“In anticipation of considering this campaign, I started a Twitter (account) in April of this year with 0 followers,” Brown said. “Today, I have over 73,000 followers. That’s more than any one candidate or politician in this state. And my Instagram has over 13,500 followers — once again — starting at 0. ”
Social media has created a new style of grassroots campaign for Brown.
“Well, I think people are seeing that there can be candidates, who have not necessarily grown up through the system and can still represent the needs of the people well, who can be strong leaders and who can be effective at fundraising,” he said.
“And people have just attached themselves to this campaign,” Brown added. “And when I say people have attached themselves to this campaign, I mean this is a grassroots campaign at its core. We’ve had over 12,000 donors in Q3 (third quarter of 2021), raised over $1 million.”
“People see something here that is different,” Brown said. “I’m not your typical establishment Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I am here for the people. I want to lead. I want to listen.
Yet Brown’s campaign has also been fueled by old-time “grassroots” traditions.
“I’m guessing part of it is word-of-month,” he said. “Friends sharing with friends and a lot of people believing in me, you know $10, $100, $200 at a time. Like I said, 12,000 donors. That is not a small number of folks.”
Some say Brown’s big break was a prime-time appearance on The Laura Ingraham Show on Fox, although Brown suggested that is a “misconception.”
“I think even I had a misconception about what a Fox News interview would do for you,” he said. “You can attribute, to a high level of confidence, just how much money that actually brings in and in general, $30,000 might be on the high end of how much money you’ll raise from a Fox interview. So I wouldn’t say that was necessarily the thing that made this happen.”
Brown said he plans to raise about $3 million in total for the GOP primary campaign.
“We anticipate and are well on our way to raise a primary program of $3 million or more,” he said. “That allows us to do what we need to do to beat Adam Laxalt in the primary and I fully anticipate the country (state) will rally around us in the general.”
Brown has also received the support of Republican donor and ally of Donald Trump in Don Ahern, a Las Vegas businessman who made his fortune in the rental-equipment sector. Ahern told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he wants Trump to switch his endorsement from Laxalt to Brown.
Ahern has emerged as the state’s top GOP donor/influencer — with the death of Las Vegas Sands leader Sheldon Adelson and with the low profile taken by former casino mogul Steve Wynn after sexual misconduct allegations were made against him.
“I love Donald Trump and I believe once he understands the strength of Sam Brown and the weakness of Adam Laxalt, I would hope that he would change his support there,” Ahern told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
After reading Brown’s campaign web site, however, Shad commented that there are not a lot of differences between Brown and Laxalt on the key conservative issues.
“When you get down to policy, on broad strokes, (there is) probably not a lot of difference,” Brown admitted. “Probably, where you can look and slice out where we are different is, Who is going to work really hard to get out there and represent the people? We the people. It’s clearly me.”
Laxalt has a “birthright mentality” when it comes to the Senate race, Brown said.
“Adam has had the opportunity to run twice across this state and the fact that I’ve raised $1 million with him and all of his endorsements, it means that people clearly want something different,” Brown said.
“They don’t want someone who has a birthright mentality to a position in office,” Brown continued. “So I don’t come with the attachments with special interests that Adam has. My accountability is to the people. It is the people who fund this campaign at an average of $75 at a time.”
“And so, all I can go off of are the numbers from Q3 (third quarter of 2021),” Brown said. “But 1,500 Nevadans contributed to this campaign and Adam only had about 300 Nevadans contribute to his campaign. So I’m answering to the people. Adam was recruited, endorsed and funded by D.C. and I’m being supported by Nevadans.”
Brown and his wife moved from Texas to Reno in 2018, according to his campaign website.