Senator Catherine Cortez Masto made history six years ago when she was the first Latino elected after a hard and expensive race that she won Less than 3% wins.
Her re-election looks just as difficult, and one demographic is especially critical to maintaining her seat: Latinos.
Republicans, buoyed by victories with Latinos in South Texas and Florida in recent elections, see Nevada as their next opportunity to keep the voting population moving in the right direction make a progress.
Republican candidate and former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxarte is pitching his MAGA-branded candidacy to voters through his “Laxarte Latino” coalition as an opportunity for change.
“The only thing we need to expect is that people are waking up to that,” Laxalter said during a Latino-focused campaign in Las Vegas earlier this month, according to sources from nevada independent“They’re driving out Democrats. They know these policies are dangerous and toxic for our children and our country.”
But left-leaning Latino organizing groups and Cortez Masto’s campaign are doing everything they can to make sure there isn’t a vote shift — and they reject the idea that the Republican playbook with recent victories with Latino voters in Texas and Florida will There is the same effect in combat birth states.
“Republicans see Latinos as a boulder and say that because they see a small movement of Latinos in a particular state, it’s a brushstroke for the entire country and for Latinos across the country,” Yvonne Gonzales, managing director of Latino Victory Fund, told The Daily Beast. “When we knew that wasn’t the case.”
Cortez Masto has been a credible voter on President Joe Biden’s agenda and the face of Nevada’s woes during the pandemic, with the hospitality and tourism industry battered by slowing travel.
But Nevada Democrats tend to win elections by narrow margins.Cortez Masto won her first term in the Senate by 2.4 points in 2016 — but Latinos voted 61% to 32% for Cortez Cortez Mastro, while then-challenger Joe Heck got the same 60 percent of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s gain the same year, according to Las Vegas Review-JournalBiden also won the state in 2020, but 56 Latinos voted, while Trump boosted his lead from 29% to 37% in exit polls. NBC News.
Latinos expect more and more results Nevada compared to the 2020 election — and they are likely to One-fifth of Nevada’s midterm voters this November, according to projections from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.
While Democrats have seen some hopeful signs that their midterm prospects aren’t entirely in trouble, the historic two-point advantage has little breathing room in what is expected to be a rough year for the party.
“It’s going to be competitive, they’re usually in Nevada,” Cortez Masto told the Daily Beast on Tuesday.
Laxalt himself is one of the top Republican recruits this round, and since Laxalt’s father and grandfather were U.S. senators, he expects him to dominate any Republican primary field by name alone. Those expectations were real, as Laxalter, backed by former President Trump, won the Republican primary with more than 55 percent of the vote in June.
Cortez Masto’s campaign is well aware of the role Latino voters play in securing her re-election with Laxalt in November.She has been broadcasting in Spanish since May, advertising her Mexican Grandfather’s American Tour And her record in the Senate during her first term. She has also been touring Latino-focused events, traveling across the state to help select voters from key demographics.
Cortez Masto campaign spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said her candidacy was in “stark contrast” to Laxalt, adding, “Senator Cortez Masto has always fought for the community in Nevada.”
But Laxart and his conservative allies are also taking action in the Latino community. Just last week, Laxalter entered dark blue Las Vegas with a series of Latino-focused voter outreach, hoping to sway longtime Democrats to venture out with conservatives.
His message echoes those used by Republicans in Texas and Florida — messages that have been shown to work, at least to some extent: namely, that The American Dream is under attack Amid inflation and rising gasoline prices, perhaps electing Republicans could catalyze some changes.
“I am very grateful for the overwhelming support I have received from the Latino community throughout the campaign,” Laxalter said in a statement after completing a series of campaigns targeting Latino voters.
“As I travel across the state, I have the opportunity to speak to countless Latino families, hear their stories, and learn about their concerns and priorities. Like many families, they are concerned about rising prices, gas costs, our open borders and A deadly rise in violent crime.”
Republican operatives on the Beltway were also furious at the prospect of Laxalt.
“Oh, we’re going to win,” National Republican Senate Committee Chairman Rick Scott told The Daily Beast about the Nevada Senate showdown. In a follow-up question about what voting demographics would make that possible, Scott touted a “significant investment in Hispanic voting” as a panacea for Republicans to win.
“As you know, Hispanics are sick of the Democrats because they find out that the Democrats don’t care about them…Hispanics are sick of the public school system, they’re sick of all this inflation. They’re sick of defunding the police,” St. Kurt said.
“I think that will put us in a good position to win.”
But organizers say trying to influence Latinos in the direction of the Republican Party is nothing new — noting that the conservative record on issues like immigration won’t resonate with Latinos in Nevada this cycle.
“Over the years, we’ve seen Republicans focus on trying to win the votes of Latino voters and using certain wedge issues that they think will engage Latinos,” Gonzalez said. “When you really look at the Republican narrative now, they couldn’t be more anti-Latino.”
Maria Teresa Kumar, president of the organizing group Voto Latino, also told The Daily Beast that the right-leaning trend among Latinos is largely driven by older Latinos. Young Latinos remain on a steady trend with Democrats, and their turnout was key to Cortez Masto’s victory, she said.
“They were able to question many of these states, and we had to get them to the polls,” Kumar said.
Democrats have warned that the GOP’s new efforts will not outweigh the left’s long-term investments in Latinos.
“The Democrats have been doing this job for a long time. There’s more work to be done, but we’ve been going beyond that for decades,” said Meghan Jones, a veteran Democratic operative in Nevada.
To be sure, Nevada is one of the most diverse states in the country, with a large Asian American and Pacific Islander and black population, which means a range of opinions will come into play. With new restrictions on abortion, climate change, jobs and rising prices still a problem in the West, basic political issues are sure to be at the top of both candidates’ campaigns.
“[Laxalt] Oppose Roy and Wade, giving everyone the option of reproductive freedom, and oppose the bipartisan infrastructure package I support that will create good-paying jobs in our state,” Cortez Masto told Every Sun Beast.” And he’s out there peddling his conspiracies and lies about the election — the last election. “
But there’s no denying that investing in Latinos will be a game-changer — and Gonzalez says even Democrats can do more.
“I always thought more was needed, and I was biased…” she said. “We can’t just paint with big brushes. So I think the party definitely needs to do more to attract, motivate and mobilize Latinos to vote for them — this is an important opportunity.”