US Senate candidates in Nevada locked in neck-and-neck race

Nov 7, 2022, 3:00 PM | Updated: Nov 8, 2022, 5:56 am
FILE- U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., questions Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm dur...

FILE- U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., questions Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing Thursday, May 5, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Cortez Masto is running for reelection in the Nov. 8 election. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

(AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

              FILE - Republican Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt speaks at a news conference on Aug. 4, 2022, in Las Vegas. Laxalt is trying to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in the Nov. 8, 2022 election. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
            
              FILE- U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., questions Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing Thursday, May 5, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Cortez Masto is running for reelection in the Nov. 8 election. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

RENO, Nev. (AP) — For a swing state, there’s been remarkably little motion in Nevada’s polls. Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt have been locked in a neck-and-neck race for weeks.

Both have hit hard on national party talking points, with Laxalt blaming inflation and illegal immigration on Democratic policies, and Cortez Masto promising to block GOP-led attempts at a nationwide abortion ban and to fight for a pathway to permanent citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children.

But those issues aren’t necessarily sure-fire wins. With voters heading to the polls Tuesday, the nail-biting race may hinge on nuance.

Economic woes could outweigh abortion concerns for many residents. Voters enshrined abortion rights into state law more than 30 years ago, and the state’s hospitality- and entertainment-dominated economy hasn’t rebounded as quickly as other sectors since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It all means high gas and grocery prices could dull the impact of Cortez Masto’s reproductive rights messaging.

Abortion is legal in Nevada, but Cortez Masto said she would use her seat to block any efforts in the Senate to advance a nationwide abortion ban. Laxalt has said abortion policy decisions should remain in the hands of the states, but also expressed support for a referendum that would restrict abortion after 13 weeks.

Some swing voters in suburban regions could be put off by Laxalt’s close ties to former President Donald Trump. Laxalt co-chaired Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign in Nevada and later promoted and advanced lies about the election. Laxalt’s communication director Courtney Holland attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 and was photographed with members of the Oath Keepers extremist group, including some who were later charged with insurrection-related crimes. Holland has said she left the event once she saw the rally was deteriorating.

Both candidates are working hard to gain votes from Nevada’s Spanish-speaking community. Latinos — which make up roughly four out of every 10 residents — might be as energized by Cortez Masto’s promises to find a pathway to permanent citizenship for “Dreamers” as they are frustrated with high gas and grocery prices caused by inflation. The election might become a case-study of sorts on the inroads the Republican Party has made with the Hispanic community.

Laxalt has said he would work to “finish the wall” on the nation’s southern border and that he supports a return to the “remain in Mexico” policy enacted by the Trump administration, which sent asylum-seeking migrants back across the Mexico border while they waited for a decision from U.S. immigration authorities.

Cortez Masto has clocked a lot of time courting the state’s hourly workers, aided in door-to-door campaign efforts by the powerful Culinary Union, whose roughly 70,000 members include bartenders, porters and housekeeping staffers.

Both sides have also flirted with misinformation along the way. A Cortez Masto ad targeting Spanish-speaking viewers took Laxalt’s words out of context to suggest that he’s happy some small businesses never recovered after the pandemic. But a look at his full remarks show that Laxalt was saying he believed it was good news that people would blame Democratic leaders and policies for the impact of some pandemic policies.

An Adam Laxalt advertisement wrongly claimed that when a local law enforcement officer was shot in the head during the George Floyd riots, Cortez Masto “didn’t say a word.” In fact, she condemned the violence on a social media account, calling it “tragic.” Another advertisement from a Republican political action committee repeated unsubstantiated claims from a prior campaign to falsely make it seem as if Cortez Masto “supported releasing drunk drivers.”

The candidates each come from powerful political families. Laxalt’s grandfather was former Nevada governor and U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt, and his father was former U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici from New Mexico. Still, 14 members of Laxalt’s extended family endorsed Cortez Masto, lauding her “Nevada grit” in a public statement that did not mention Laxalt by name.

Cortez Masto’s father Manny Cortez served as a member of the Clark County Commission and was the longtime head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, a government tourism agency led by a board made up of private resort industry members and local government officials.

Cortez Masto was Nevada’s attorney general from 2007 to 2015, before she became the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. Laxalt held the state attorney general’s post from 2015 to 2019, and unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018.

___

Associated Press writers Sam Metz in Salt Lake City, Ali Swenson in New York City and Graph Massara in San Francisco contributed.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N...
Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

Bill protecting same-sex, interracial unions clears Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House gave final approval Thursday to legislation protecting same-sex marriages, a monumental step in a decadeslong battle for nationwide recognition of those unions that reflects a stark turnaround in societal attitudes. President Joe Biden is expected to promptly sign the measure, which requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages. It is […]
12 hours ago
FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011...
Associated Press

Boeing’s last 747 to roll out of Washington state factory

After more than half a century, Boeing is set to roll its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday.
12 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, in Was...
Associated Press

WNBA star Griner freed in swap for Russian arms dealer Bout

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday in a high-profile prisoner exchange, as the U.S. released notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout but failed to win freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, who has been jailed for nearly four years. The deal, the second in eight months amid tensions over Russia’s […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Court upholds murder conviction in 2017 university stabbing

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The first-degree murder conviction of a white man sentenced to life in prison for stabbing a Black college student at the University of Maryland has been upheld by the state’s second-highest court. Sean Urbanski’s conviction was upheld by the Court of Special Appeals on Wednesday in the 2017 killing of Army […]
1 day ago
Ted Henifin, the City of Jackson water system third-party administrator, addresses media questions ...
Associated Press

Q&A: How Ted Henifin plans to fix Jackson’s water system

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The manager appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice to help fix the long-troubled water system in Mississippi’s capital has an expansive list of reforms on his plate. Over one year, Ted Henifin intends to make substantial progress on all of them. Henifin will spend the next year managing Jackson’s water […]
1 day ago
FILE - Dr. Caitlin Bernard, a reproductive healthcare provider, speaks during an abortion rights ra...
Associated Press

Indiana doctor drops lawsuit against attorney general

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana doctor has dropped a lawsuit that aimed to halt the state’s attorney general from investigating her after she provided an abortion to a 10-year-old Ohio child who was raped. Lawyers for Dr. Caitlin Bernard of Indianapolis voluntarily nixed the lawsuit filed last month against Indiana Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
US Senate candidates in Nevada locked in neck-and-neck race