DemDaily: The Country’s Top Toss Up. Nevada

October 28, 2022

In the country's top toss up Senate election, Nevada Democrat Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is in a fierce reelection fight against GOP challenger Adam Laxalt.

Silver State Politics
The western battleground state, which Biden won by 2.39%, has voted with every winning presidential candidate for the last thirty-six years with the exception of 2016, when Hillary Clinton won the state 47.9% to 45.5% over Donald Trump.

Although Democrats currently control both US Senate seats and the Governor's mansion, the independent voters of Nevada have historically split their preferences between the parties in statewide offices.

According to the Nevada Secretary of State, as of August 2, 2022, 34.52% of active registered voters were Republican, 30.97% were Democrat, 33.72% were nonpartisan/other and 0.78% Libertarian.

Catherine Cortez Masto, the first-ever Latina elected to the United States Senate, was elected in 2016, defeating Republican Congressman Joe Heck 47% to 45% in the race to succeed retiring US Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D).

A former criminal prosecutor in the US Attorney's office, Cortez Masto was elected as state Attorney General in 2006 and reelected by 16 points in 2010.

Her 2022 GOP opponent, Adam Laxalt, who succeeded her as Attorney General in 2014, hails from a Republican political dynasty. He is the son of former US Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and the grandson of former Nevada Governor and US Senator Paul Laxalt (R).

Laxalt was the 2018 GOP nominee for governor, losing to current Democrat Governor Steve Sisolak by 4%. The same year saw Congresswoman Jacky Rosen unseat Republican incumbent Dean Heller, 50.4% to 45.4%, to become Nevada's junior US Senator.

In 2020 Laxalt co-chaired former President Donald Trump's 2020 presidential reelection campaign in Nevada and joined in efforts to overturn the election results based on unsubstantiated claims of large-scale voter fraud.

Both Trump and the GOP establishment supported Laxalt in the June 2022 Republican primary, which he won with 56% over seven other contenders.

As of the 2020 US Census, 46.6% of Nevada's total population was White, 29.9% Hispanic/Latino, 10.6% Black, 10% Asian/Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.7% American Indian/Alaska Native and 4.9% two or more races.

Cortez Masto, who served as Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2020 cycle, has proved prolific at fundraising. In the third quarter report ending September 30, she reported bringing in more than $15 million for a total of $45.44 million raised in the election, and $5.1 million cash on hand.

Laxalt raised $6.2 million in the third quarter for a total of $13.5 million and $4 million on hand.

Television ad spending in the race was roughly even between the parties over the last month, with outside GOP-alligned groups closing the money gap on behalf of Laxalt.

Ultra-conservative Club for Growth, which has poured over $14 million into the race, released an ad last week attempting to tie Cortez Masto to Biden's "soaring inflation" and the rise in gas prices.

Cortez Masto's most recent campaign ads attack Laxalt on his anti-abortion stance. She has also benefited from outside spending by groups including Latino voter mobilization Somos PAC, Women Vote!, and LCV Victory Fund.

An October 24-26, 2022 Echelon Insights poll of likely voters showed Cortez Masto trailing Laxalt 46% to 48% (MOE: +/- 4.9%).

Also on the ballot is the reelection of Nevada incumbent Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak, who is in a statistical dead heat with Trump-endorsed challenger and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

Early Vote began October 22! Voter Resources

DemDaily: 2022 Governor's Races: The Final Battlegrounds 10/27/22
DemDaily: The Final Debates of 2022 10/25/22
DemDaily: The 2022 Early Vote Calendar Countdown 10/16/22
DemDaily: Status of The Senate: Races and Ratings 10/12/22

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Ballotpedia, New York Times, Nevada Independent, The Hill, Politico, US Census Bureau

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