RENO, Nev. –
The tight race between US Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt is still too early to call after polls close in Nevada on Tuesday night.
Laxalt and Cortez Masto have been locked in a tight race for weeks, both hitting hard on the national party’s debating positions: Laxalt blames inflation and illegal immigration on policies. Democrats, and Cortez Masto promised to block GOP-led efforts to ban abortion nationwide and fight for a path to permanent citizenship for undocumented immigrants arriving. country at a young age.
Hours after the polls ended, both candidates told supporters they expected to come out first.
“Our positive energy got us here today and our positive energy will continue to flow this week,” Cortez Masto said from a Democrat watch party on the Las Vegas Strip. Vegas. “We’ll get this done.”
Laxalt shares a similar sentiment with Republicans gathered at another Las Vegas casino.
“We are exactly where we want to be in this race. We have a lot of votes across the state,” Laxalt said. “We’re going to win this race.”
Voters in some parts of the state defied long lines, bad weather and technical difficulties to make their choice. At approximately 7:15 p.m., Cortez Masto and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee filed an emergency request for a Nevada judge to keep some polling places in Clark County open for an additional two hours. DSCC lawyers cited printing problems that they said prevented some people from voting.
However, Judge Gloria Sturman of Clark County in Las Vegas denied the request. Polling places are still open for those who were in line before 7pm
The outcome of the Laxalt and Cortez Masto Senate race may illustrate the effectiveness of the Democrats’ focus on abortion in the face of the economic woes the GOP so often refers to.
According to AP VoteCast, an extensive survey of nearly 2,200 voters in the state, about three-quarters of voters say things are going wrong in the country.
The economy is the top issue for many Nevada voters, with about 5 out of 10 calling it the most important issue facing the country. Immigration, abortion, crime and climate change followed, with about 1 in 10 voters naming each of their top issues.
Voters also view the economy negatively, with nearly eight in 10 saying economic conditions are not too good or bad. Only about 2 out of 10 are called excellent or good economies. And about a third of voters say their families are falling behind financially.
About 5 in 10 called inflation the most important factor in deciding how to vote, according to the survey. But voters in Nevada are equally divided on whether they think inflation is caused by President Joe Biden’s policies or by factors beyond his control.
Voters incorporated abortion rights into state law more than 30 years ago, and the state’s predominantly hospitality and entertainment economy has not recovered as quickly as other sectors since the COVID-19 pandemic- 19 happens. That means high gas and grocery prices could blunt the impact of Cortez Masto’s reproductive rights message.
Abortion is legal in Nevada, but Cortez Masto said she would use her seat to block any attempt in the Senate to push for a nationwide abortion ban. Laxalt said decisions on abortion policy should be in the hands of the states, but also expressed support for a referendum that would limit abortions after 13 weeks.
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a 1973 ruling that recognized the constitutional right to abortion, also played a role in most voter decisions, with nearly eight in 10 calling it a a factor in how they vote. About a quarter called it the most important factor in their vote.
A majority of Nevada voters also expressed support for the right to abortion, according to the poll, with about seven in 10 saying the right should be legal in all or most cases.
Some voters who rotate in suburban areas may be swayed by Laxalt’s close relationship with former President Donald Trump. Laxalt co-hosted Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign in Nevada and subsequently promoted and promoted lies about the election. Laxalt communications director Courtney Holland attended the “Stop Stealing” rally in Washington, DC on January 6 and was photographed with members of the radical group Oath Keepers, including some who was later charged with insurrection. Holland has said she left the event when she saw the protest was deteriorating.
Both candidates are working to win votes from the Hispanic community in Nevada. Latinos – who make up about 4 out of 10 residents – can be invigorated by Cortez Masto’s promise to find a way to permanent citizenship for the “Dreamers” when they are frustrated with Gasoline and grocery prices are high due to inflation. The election could turn out to be a case study of the inroads the Republican Party has made with the Hispanic community.
Laxalt has said he will work to “finish the wall” on the nation’s southern border and that he supports a return to the “stay in Mexico” policy enacted by the Trump administration, putting those asylum-seekers return to the Mexican border while they await a decision from US immigration authorities.
Cortez Masto spent a lot of time flirting with the state’s hourly workers, supporting the door-to-door advocacy efforts of the powerful Culinary Alliance, whose approximately 70,000 members include bartenders, porters and housekeeping staff.
Both sides have also unleashed 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 that some small businesses never recover from the pandemic. . But a full review of his comments shows that Laxalt is saying that he believes it is good news that people will blame Democratic leaders and policies for the impact of certain policies. epidemic.
An ad by Adam Laxalt falsely 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 a “tragedy”. Another ad from a Republican political action committee echoes baseless claims from an earlier campaign to make it appear that Cortez Masto is “in favor of releasing drunk drivers.” alcohol”.
The candidates all come from powerful political families. Laxalt’s grandfather is former Nevada governor and US Senator Paul Laxalt, and his father is former US Senator Pete Domenici from New Mexico. However, 14 members of Laxalt’s extended family endorsed Cortez Masto, praising her “Nevada grit” in a public statement that did not mention Laxalt by name.
Manny Cortez, Cortez Masto’s father, was a member of the Clark County Commission and longtime head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, a government tourism agency led by a board of members. members of the private resort industry and leading local government officials.
Cortez Masto was the attorney general of Nevada from 2007 to 2015, before she became the first Latina elected to the United States Senate in 2016. Laxalt served as the state’s attorney general from 2015 to 2019. and unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018.
Associated Press writers Sarah Rankin in Washington, DC, Sam Metz in Salt Lake City, Ali Swenson in New York City, and Graph Massara in San Francisco contributed.