Paul Laxalt

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Paul Laxalt
U.S. Senator from Nevada
From: December 18, 1974 – January 3, 1987
Predecessor Alan H. Bible
Successor Harry Reid
Governor of Nevada
From: January 2, 1967 - January 4, 1971
Predecessor Grant Sawyer
Successor Mike O'Callaghan
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Carol Laxalt
Religion Roman Catholic

Paul Dominique Laxalt (August 2, 1922, in Reno, Nevada – August 6, 2018) served as the Governor and United States Senator from Nevada. A Republican, he was a close associate of his friend, former neighboring Governor of California and U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan and is a member of the Republican Party.

A medic in the Pacific Theater during World War II he would go on to graduate from Santa Clara University in 1946, and received a LL.B. from the University of Denver in 1949. After serving as district attorney of Carson City he was elected lieutenant governor of Nevada in 1962 and governor in 1966. As governor he established a community college system, corporate gambling laws, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Laxalt became a close friend of Ronald Reagan, then-governor of the neighboring state of California. He would go on to work on Reagan's three presidential campaigns, including his 1976 primary challenge to incumbent Republican Gerald Ford.[1]

Laxalt declined to run for a second term and was elected to the United States Senate in 1974, having narrowly defeated his later Senate successor Democrat Harry Reid, 79,605 to 78,981 votes. He was sworn in early to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Democrat Alan Bible. Laxalt was reelected in 1980 and was a staunch proponent of the Reagan administration and a key figure in debates over tax cuts, defense spending, and Supreme Court nominations. He served as General Chairman of the Republican Party from 1983 to 1987, and after a brief run for the Republican nomination for President in 1988, he was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee. After leaving politics he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

He was the grandfather of Adam Laxalt, a former lieutenant governor and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate for Nevada in 2022.