By Jacob Solis/The Nevada Independent

Less than 12 hours had elapsed between Republican Senate candidate ’s primary victory on Tuesday night and the launch of the first salvo of negative ads Wednesday morning, as one of the most critical Senate contests in the country shifted its focus toward November.

Democratic incumbent Sen.  launched a statewide television campaign targeting Laxalt as historically tied to “Big Oil,” criticizing his efforts as attorney general in 2016 to block an investigation into ExxonMobil and, later, accepting $2.5 million contributions to his 2018 gubernatorial bid by the billionaire Koch Brothers — long some of the most influential mega-donors in Republican politics.

That ad preceded a Thursday press conference from the state AFL-CIO, which included union members toting signs that read: “Adam Laxalt – Big Oil first, Nevadans last.”

Laxalt has dismissed the criticism, tweeting Thursday that Cortez Masto had joined with “Big Labor” to “spread lies and push her phony message” — though it was unclear what part Laxalt considered false.

In a statement attached to that tweet, Laxalt also said that the state’s gas prices have doubled under Cortez Masto (the current statewide average of $5.67, per numbers from AAA, is about 54 percent higher than the $3.66 average one year ago), and specifically cited her votes against oil leases as a key cause.

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