DDHQ: Dem Cortez Masto projected to win Nevada Senate race

Nevada 2022 midterm election

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., left, speaks alongside Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak during an election night party hosted by the Nevada Democratic Party, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(NewsNation) — NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ has called the race for the U.S. Senate seat representing Nevada in favor of incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. 

The result means Democrats are projected to have at least 50 seats in the chamber, which is effectively a majority with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote. They could pick up another if Sen. Raphael Warnock defeats Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff.

Cortez Masto’s bid for reelection to Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat against her Republican challenger, former Nevada Attorney General Alex Laxalt, was tight and considered a toss-up in the days leading up to the election. 

The result in the race comes three days after the polls closed, as election officials in Clark County, Nevada’s largest county, filed through mail-in ballots. Laxalt and Cortez Masto were separated by a razor-thin margin from the moment votes started being tabulated.

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Cortez Masto focused on reproductive rights as a key issue during her campaign in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to remove federal protections for abortion access in June. Laxalt said he supported the issue of abortion access being returned to states, though he has not proposed changes to Nevada’s existing laws.

Cortez Masto touted Democratic achievements, including efforts to lower prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients and jobs that will be brought to the state through the bipartisan infrastructure law. Meanwhile, Laxalt lambasted Cortez Masto and her party for their role in making inflation worse.  

The Cortez Masto campaign has outspent the Laxalt campaign in one of the most expensive Senate races of the election cycle. Her campaign has spent more than $46 million, compared to the Laxalt campaign spending of more than $12 million. Outside spending was also significant. More than $47 million was spent on ads opposing Cortez Masto, along with more than $43 million on ads opposing Laxalt.

The Latino vote was expected to be critical for candidates, with one in five Nevada voters identifying as Latino. Cortez Masto became the first Latina senator in 2016, but later polls showed Laxalt pulling ahead with the demographic that has traditionally leaned Democratic.

Laxalt has also backed former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud and urged a rural Nevada county to perform an audit of votes after the 2020 election. No evidence exists to show widespread voter fraud took place.

In 2020, President Joe Biden won in Nevada, though Trump took all of the state’s rural counties. In the midterms, Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, and Washoe County, which includes Reno, were considered key counties for Cortez Masto’s efforts to hold onto her seat.

Laxalt previously ran against Cortez Masto for Nevada Attorney General and defeated her.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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