Catherine Cortez Masto wins Nevada Senate race, giving Democrats majority

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto won the election for a second term representing Nevada on Saturday, beating Republican Adam Laxalt to secure party control of the chamber for the next two years of the presidency. by Joe Biden.

With Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s victory in Arizona on Friday, Democrats now hold a 50-49 advantage in the Senate. The party will retain control of the chamber no matter how Georgia’s runoff goes next month under Vice President Kamala Harris’ decisive vote.

The Democrats’ grip on the Senate is a blow to Republicans’ high hopes of wresting control of Congress in a midterm election that typically favors the ruling party. It was still unclear which party would control the House of Representatives as the count continued in razor-sharp races in California and a handful of other states.

Cortez Masto, the first Latina in the Senate, was considered the most vulnerable Democratic senator in the midterm elections, and the Republican Party had high hopes of overturning the seat. But despite an influx of spending on attack ads from national GOP groups, Cortez Masto managed to secure his re-election bid.

The Nevada vote count took several days in part because of the absentee ballot system created by the state legislature in 2020 that requires counties to accept postmarked ballots on Election Day. if they arrive up to four days later. Laxalt had an early lead that dwindled after late-counted ballots arrived from state population centers in Las Vegas and Reno.

Cortez Masto, the former two-term state attorney general, has focused her Senate campaign on the growing threat to abortion access nationwide and worked to woo Spanish-speaking residents and wage earners. state schedules, stressing his support for a permanent path to citizenship for “Dreamers” and regularly visiting union halls and labor groups.

Its fundraising far exceeded that of Laxalt. She spent nearly $47 million and had more than $6 million in cash through mid-October, according to OpenSecrets. Laxalt spent nearly $13 million and had about $3 million left over the same period.

Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general himself who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018, has focused on rising inflation and a struggling economy for much of his campaign, trying to tie voters’ financial hardship to the policies advanced by Democrats in Congress and Biden.

Former President Donald Trump, who twice lost Nevada in his White House races, came to the state twice to rally for Laxalt and other Republican candidates.

Democrats have had an uphill battle given the country’s turbulent economy, and Nevada exemplified the party’s challenges. The state is one of the most diverse in the country, and its mostly working-class population often lives paycheck to paycheck and has battled both inflation and the fallout from the economy shutting down. tourist in Las Vegas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About three-quarters of Nevada voters said the country was heading in the wrong direction, and about 5 in 10 called the economy the most important problem facing the country, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of 2 100 state voters.

READ MORE: What motivated voters on election day?

Voters viewed the economy negatively, with VoteCast finding nearly 8 in 10 saying economic conditions are not so good or bad. Only about 2 in 10 rated the economy as excellent or good. And about a third of voters said their families were financially behind.

But that hasn’t necessarily translated into anger at President Joe Biden or his party. About half saw inflation as the most important problem facing the United States, but they were also split on whether they thought the price hike was due to Biden’s policies or factors. independent of his will.

Nevada is also a state known for live and let live, and Cortez Masto’s message about preserving abortion rights resonated. According to VoteCast, 7 out of 10 people wanted the procedure to remain legal in all or most cases.

Associated Press writer Scott Sonner in Las Vegas contributed to this report.


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