In the sweltering heat of the desert near Nellis Air Force Base, where fighter jets briefly drowned out the speakers, Republican Senate Candidate Adam Laxalt sat beside Rick Perry — a former Texas governor, failed presidential candidate and eventually energy secretary — to talk about oil.

Calling Laxalt a friend to the fossil fuel industry, Perry railed against Democratic rollbacks of Trump-era drilling policies and cast the broader energy ecosystem, in part, as a micro-economic issue. 

“It's about your pocketbook,” Perry said. “And [Cortez Masto] and her decision to go along with Joe Biden in this woke, leftist policies about energy and our ability to have an economy …. That's all in jeopardy now.” 

The event, held last Wednesday at a Rebel Oil facility for two dozen employees and campaign guests, was the latest in a series of Laxalt appearances that have sought to hammer Democrats on the economy. 

Neither Laxalt nor Perry took any questions from the media, nor did they take any questions from attendees not already written before the event. It continues a long string of appearances from Laxalt in which he has not spoken to local media.

These campaign-sponsored events have nonetheless provided an outlet for Laxalt and his allies to draw attention back to the pre-COVID economy of the Trump White House and cast Democratic policy wins as ultimate failures. 

On energy, specifically, that push involved casting blame for Democrat-led states sounding the alarm over potential blackouts amid a crushing heatwave. Republicans have spent the summer campaigning on the potential for such blackouts, though even some red states — including Texas — have warned that any substantial increase in typical power usage could raise the risk of similar outages.  

“And California has these rolling blackouts — yes, it's hot and we’re in the middle of a drought, but this is going on all over the country,” Laxalt said, also referencing requests by NV Energy to raise thermostats last week. “And guess what? The state of Florida doesn't have rolling blackouts. Most states don't have rolling blackouts.”

Nevada’s Senate race is expected to be among the most competitive in the country. Likewise, incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is frequently listed as among the country’s most vulnerable incumbents, alongside Georgia Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock. 

On abortion, Laxalt’s campaign has sought to navigate his messaging in a narrowly tailored fashion, including by attacking Cortez Masto for a bill she co-sponsored that would allow the Federal Trade Commission to regulate information from those centers under deceptive advertising rules. 

Rick Perry’s appearance allowed Cortez Masto to assail Laxalt for days on social media over Perry’s central role as energy secretary in secretly shipping a half-ton of plutonium for storage in Nevada in 2018 — reviving the decades-old third-rail of Yucca Mountain in the process. 

Both Cortez Masto and Laxalt were among a bipartisan contingent of Nevada politicians who opposed the move at the time. 

Just this week, however, the abortion issue came to the fore again, as Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks, well within the second trimester. 

In an op-ed in the Reno Gazette Journal last month, Laxalt said claims that he would support a national abortion ban were false. When asked specifically about Lindsey Graham's proposal, Laxalt spokesperson Brian Freimuth said: “This proposal has no chance to pass Congress and receive President Biden’s signature. The law in Nevada was settled by voters decades ago and isn’t going to change.”