Adam Laxalt, Republican candidate for governor of Nevada, walked away from the cameras rather than answer questions about the endorsement he received and touted from a sheriff accused of rape.
Nevada Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt fled from cameras when the subject of his endorsement from a sheriff accused of rape came up.
A man asked Laxalt, the state's attorney general, about his connection to the sheriff during a public appearance on Wednesday.
"I saw a Facebook ad about you supporting a sheriff who was accused of raping somebody," the man noted. But before he was even able to finish, Laxalt hurriedly turned away and ended the conversation.
The ads in question come from the super PAC American Bridge. The group told the Nevada Independent they were part of a "prolonged digital campaign to hold Laxalt accountable on his support from [Storey County Sheriff Gerald] Antinoro and other misogynists and sexual harassers."
Antinoro's endorsement is prominently listed on Laxalt's official campaign website. The site notes that Laxalt is "proud" to have the support of Antinoro and other sheriffs.
Laxalt also appeared with Antinoro in a 2016 NRA ad opposing a ballot measure on gun safety.
But when Antinoro ran for re-election in 2014, an allegation of rape emerged.
In the complaint filed with police in Sparks, Nevada, the alleged victim said that in 2006 "Antinoro had sex with me while (another deputy named) Dosen pleasured himself." Antinoro denied the allegation. Police were unable to investigate the claim because the statute of limitations had expired.
Antinoro is also being sued for sexual harassment. Melanie Keener, who served as a deputy sheriff under him, said he made inappropriate and suggestive comments to her while they were attending a conference.
An outside investigation found the allegations to be valid. The report noted that Antinoro used text messages and personal conversations to pursue an inappropriate line of conversation.
"It is our opinion that Melanie Keener actually understood the messages to be suggestive comments ... or pressure for sexual favors."
The department reassigned Keener after she made her allegations against Antinoro.
Nevadans have called on Laxalt to reject the endorsement, holding public events to pressure him on the issue.
The Nevada state Democratic Party released a statement slamming Laxalt and attorney general candidate Wes Duncan, who was also endorsed by Antinoro.
"The state’s top law enforcement officer and the man hoping to take that job should be doing everything in their power to take predators like Antinoro off the streets," spokesperson Helen Kalla said. "Laxalt and Duncan need to decide whether they’re going to continue abdicating their duty by protecting this criminal, or stand with Nevada women and reject him wholeheartedly."
But the video shows Laxalt is not willing to openly and honestly confront the significant backlash Antinoro's endorsement has generated. Instead of either distancing himself or sticking to his guns, the candidate turned tail and ran.