Former Democrat Tulsi Gabbard was greeted enthusiastically in Las Vegas on Friday as she campaigns for Republican Adam Laxalt in what may be the most sweeping Senate race of the 2022 election cycle.
The former Hawaii congressman did not hesitate to tear her former party apart, stating that she turned her back on them because they “hated freedom.”
She also accused the left of “undermining” Title IX protections against gender discrimination by supporting transgender student participation in school sports.
Laxalt struggles with incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, who represents Nevada in her first term and is one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection.
Their race on battlefield Nevada, a state that President Joe Biden won in 2020, could decide which party controls the Senate for the second half of his term in office.
But before Laxalt took the stage, supporters who poured into Stoney’s Rockin Country bar burst into cheers to hear Gabbard speak.
The love for the ex-Democrat was palpable, despite her only recently turning her back on the left.
Two rally participants told DailyMail.com they would like to see her on a 2024 presidential ticket.
Tulsi Gabbard received a warm welcome in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she campaigned for Senate candidate Adam Laxalt
Since she left the Democratic Party weeks ago, the former Hawaii congresswoman has been busy campaigning for mid-term Republican candidates
“She has a great background,” says Debra Martin, 65, a Nevada native who works in “materials management.”
Martin said she and her husband would love to see Gabbard run to the White House.
“I think she has good values and I think she will speak the truth. And she won’t just stand there and be a puppet, you know, for all the bullshit and the… [Democrat] expenses,” Martin said.
Another participant, who recently moved to Nevada from Illinois for a teaching job, told DailyMail.com that he would like to see Gabbard partner with Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
“I have a crazy, crazy theory that I want a DeSantis/Gabbard ticket in 2024,” said Josh Bender, 22.
“I think they would be the best president or vice president we’ve seen in ages.”
Gabbard said of Democrats on the podium: “They are taking away the rights and opportunities of women and girls in this country. They erase us, as women, as an entire category.
She said her old party “denies the reality of objective truth.”
The rally for the tight, high-stakes Nevada Senate race was held at Stoney’s Rockin Country bar
Laxalt stopped to take photos with attendees after his rally closing speech
“Because if they refuse to recognize the objective truth that there are biological differences between men and women, then there is no such thing as truth,” Gabbard said.
Her abrupt turnaround from Democratic Party politics has raised eyebrows, especially over her decision to campaign with the Trump-aligned Republicans.
Gabbard previously served as vice president of the national party and a surrogate for Bernie Sanders. When she dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, she supported Joe Biden.
She posed those questions at the beginning of her speech on Friday.
Gabbard recounted a conversation earlier in the day with a reporter who apparently asked why she chose to support “conservative Republicans.”
“It just doesn’t make sense if you focus on all the wrong things… so many others are focused on the superficial, all these labels they use to divide us because they want us to forget who we really are,” she said.
“They want us to forget that we are proud Americans who love this great country to defend our Constitution and our freedoms, because the more they can distract us to turn us against each other, the greater their power.”
She added later in the speech, “How could I be associated with a party that hates freedom?”
sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Center, casts her vote at a polling station on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 in Las Vegas. She is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats of the 2022 election cycle
Both Laxalt and Gabbard dodged DailyMail.com’s requests for interviews.
Laxalt’s press secretary told DailyMail.com that the hopeful GOP wouldn’t keep media availability, but then came back to say he wouldn’t have “anymore” media availability after being asked why Laxalt apparently only spoke to Fox News.
When asked about the circumstances of that interview, Laxalt’s assistant replied, “How relevant is that?”
During his speech, Laxalt tried to tie Cortez Masto, a relatively low-profile lawmaker, to Biden’s national agenda. He called her a “trustworthy” vote for the president and noted her track record of overwhelming support for his legislative goals.
He also went after Democrats as a whole for their focus on abortion rights since the Supreme Court overthrown Roe v. Wade — an issue Republicans largely shied away from turned into criticism on the left.
“They want to campaign about abortion, or all those other topics that aren’t the main issues for voters,” Laxalt said.
“They’ve been trying for five months to make this election about everything but things voters really care about.”
While abortion rights remain a top priority for voters in 2022, a majority of recent polls show that crime and the economy are consistently top priorities for voters — both issues Republicans have had a message for.
One participant in the rally, who only mentioned his name as Brock, told DailyMail.com that inflation was his main motivator for voting for Laxalt.
“It’s not just destroying me, not just my business, but my employees,” said Brock, 45.
“I own pick up and delivery routes – I own some, like FedEx routes. So I am a subcontractor. And it just destroyed it.”
He added: “The diesel prices have destroyed me.”