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Cortez Masto defeats Nevada’s Laxalt and gives Democrats control of the Senate

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LAS VEGAS — sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the Senate, will retain her Nevada seat after she endured a campaign against Republican Adam Laxalt, who failed to oust the Democrat despite severe medium-term headwinds, NBC News projects.

The outcome follows days of lengthy ballot counting, with the results largely resting with the state’s most populous county, Clark County, which has been posting once-a-day updates since Tuesday. A race long predicted to stay within the margin of error was indeed close to the end.

“Thank you Nevada!” Cortez Mastro tweeted Saturday night shortly after NBC News and other media outlets projected her win.

Latino voters here helped determine the results after both candidates invested heavily in courting them. Latinos were expected to make up 1 in 5 voters in the medium term, but the state’s NBC News Exit Poll suggests those expectations fell short, with Latinos making up just 12 percent of Nevada voters. Last month, both parties saw signs of a disgruntled electorate threatening to stay at home.

The NBC News Exit Poll also showed that those who did show up supported her. Despite her opponent’s predictions that she would struggle with Latinos, 62 percent said they voted for Cortez Masto and 33 percent supported Laxalt, according to the NBC News Exit Poll.

Cortez Masto’s campaign leaned heavily on the issue of abortion, vigorously attacking Laxalt in both English and Spanish advertisements. After the primaries, she immediately went on the offensive against rising gas prices, Hitting laxalt on ties with major oil companies, which made record profits.

Laxalt tied Cortez Masto to President Joe Biden’s economic policies, accusing them of both rising inflation and gas prices. The problem is especially strong in Nevada, where the average price of a gallon of gas is among the highest in the country.

At a recent rally in Reno, Laxalt said the voters he spoke to “were fed up.”

“This is the most upset electorate we’ve ever seen in our lives,” he said.

Laxalt also tried to bind Cortez Masto to rising crime and what Republicans have said is Biden’s failed border policies — themes that permeated many Republican campaigns.

In the closing days of the campaign, Laxalt hammered out a strictly partisan message, vowed not to partner with the left and promised to hold Senate hearings that would investigate Biden’s top medical adviser Anthony Fauci and Biden’s son, Hunter.

However, Cortez Masto tried to lure Republican voters in places like Washoe County, praising her work with the likes of Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa. She painted Laxalt as an extremist.

Laxalt, a MAGA loyalist who killed both Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. took to the state to punch for him, had questioned the results of the 2020 election and even said the results had been “manipulated”.

“There should be consequences for people who undermine our democracy, who spread the ‘big lie’ and conspiracy theories,” Cortez Masto said at an event in Reno in October.

Laxalt handily won the state’s 15 rural counties, winning 80 percent of the vote in some counties, while Cortez Masto won the reliably blue Clark County, home of Las Vegas.

The two candidates competed for Washoe County, a purple county that is the second largest in the state.


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