February 7, 2023

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto made history nearly six years ago as the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate after a tough and expensive competition, winning by less than 3 percent.

Her re-election looks just as tough, and there is a demographic factor that is particularly important to maintaining her seat: Latinos.

Emboldened by their gains with Latinos in South Texas and Florida in recent elections, Republicans view Nevada as their next chance to make headway with a voting demographic heading in the right direction.

Republican candidate and former Nevada attorney general Adam Laxalt, through his “Latinos for Laxalt” coalition, is urging these voters that his MAGA candidacy represents an opportunity for change.

“The only thing we have to look forward to is that people wake up to it,” Laxalt said at a Latino-focused campaign stop in Las Vegas earlier this month. Nevada Independent. They are kicking out the Democrats. They know that 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 is no shift in the vote — and they reject the notion that the GOP’s playbook has pulled off the recent victories of Latino voters in Texas and Florida. Same effect in Battle Born State.

“Republicans treat Latinos as a monolith and say that because they saw movement in a small portion of Latinos in select states, this is a paintbrush for the whole country and Latinos across the country,” Yvonne Gonzalez, managing director of Latinos Victory Fund, told the Daily Beast. “When we know it’s not.”

Cortez Masto has been an authoritative vote for President Joe Biden’s agenda and a voice for Nevada’s problems during the pandemic, in which the hospitality and tourism industry has been devastated as travel has slowed to a halt.

But Democratic elections in Nevada are often won by small margins. Cortez Masto won her first term in the Senate by just 2.4 points in 2016 — but Latinos voted for Cortez Mastro by 61 to 32 percent over rival Joe Heck at the time — similar to former Secretary of State Hillary’s 60 percent. Clinton in the same year, according to Las Vegas magazine review. Biden also won the state in 2020, but with 56 Latinos voting, while Trump improved his share of the vote from 29% to 37% in the polls. NBC News.

Latinos are expected transforming in increasing numbers In Nevada Compared to the 2020 General Election—And Likely They make up 1 in 5 voters in the Nevada midterm elections In November this year, according to projections from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund.

Although Democrats have seen some rays of hope that their half-prospects have not completely fallen, the historic two-point margin provides little breathing room in what is expected to be a difficult year for the party.

“It’s going to be, they’re usually in Nevada,” Cortez Masto told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

Laxalt himself was one of the top recruits to the GOP in this cycle, with expectations that he would dominate any primary field of the GOP on name recognition alone, as Laxalt’s father—and grandfather—was a U.S. Senator. Those predictions were correct, as Laxalt, who was endorsed by former President Trump, won the Republican primary in June with more than 55 percent of the vote.

Cortez Masto’s campaign is well aware of the role Latino voters play in securing her re-election against Laxalt in November. She’s been on the airwaves in Spanish since May, with ads promoting her Mexican Grandpa’s Journey to America He recorded her in the Senate during her first term. She’s also been touring Latino-focused events, across the state to help get voters out of key demographics.

Cortez Masto’s campaign spokesman, Josh Marcus Blank, said her nomination presents a “clear contrast” to Laxalt’s nomination, adding that “Senator Cortez Masto has consistently fought for the Nevada community.”

But Laxalt and his conservative allies are putting their shoes on the ground in Latin communities, too. Just last week, Laxalt indulged deep blue Las Vegas with a series of Latino-focused voter awareness events, hoping to sway old Democrats to seize the opportunity with conservatives.

His message echoes those Republicans used in Texas and Florida – which have proven effective at least to some extent: The American dream is under attack In the state amid inflation and rising gas prices, the election of a Republican may spur some elements of change.

“I am extremely grateful for the tremendous support I have received from the Latino community throughout this campaign,” Laxalt said in a statement after completing a campaign hiatus that focused on Latino voters.

“As I travel across the state, I have had the opportunity to speak with countless Latino families to hear their stories and hear their concerns and priorities. Like many families, they are concerned about rising prices, the cost of gas, our open borders, and the deadly rise in violent crime.”

Belt Republican activists are also raising eyebrows about Laxalt’s prospects.

“Oh, we’re going to win,” Rick Scott, chairman of the Republican National Senate Committee, told the Daily Beast of the showdown in the Nevada Senate. In a follow-up asking about voting demographics that would make this possible, Scott described the “big investment in Hispanic voting” as a silver bullet for Republicans toward victory.

“You know, Latinos are sick of the Democratic Party because they find out that the Democratic Party doesn’t care about them… Spaniards are sick of the public school system, they’re sick of all this inflation. They’re sick of stopping the police funding,” Scott said.

“I think he will put us in a great position to win.”

But organizers say attempts to sway Latinos in the direction of the Republican Party aren’t new — and note conservative records on issues like immigration and more won’t resonate with Nevadan Latinos in this cycle.

“We’ve seen Republicans over the years focus on trying to win Latino votes and use 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-Hispanic.”

Maria Theresa Kumar, chair of the organizing group Foto Latino, told The Daily Beast that the right-wing trend of Latinos is largely driven by older Latinos. She says younger Latinos are still steadily siding with the Democrats, and their turnout is key to Cortez Masto’s victory.

“They are the ones who can put a lot of these states into question, and we have to get them to the polls,” Kumar said.

Democratic activists warn that the Republican Party’s new efforts will not outweigh the long-term investments the left has made among Latinos.

“Democrats have been doing this work for a really long time,” said Megan Jones, a veteran Democratic activist in Nevada. “There’s more work to be done right now, but we’ve been getting ahead of it all the time in decades.”

Nevada is certainly one of the most diverse states in the country, with a large population of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and blacks as well, which means a range of opinions will come into play. Butter and butter political issues are sure to remain at the forefront of the two candidates’ campaigns because new restrictions on abortion, climate change, jobs and rising prices are still issues in the West.

“[Laxalt] He goes against Roe v. Wade and gives everyone a choice of reproductive freedom and opposes the bipartisan infrastructure package she supported that would create well-paying jobs in our state,” Cortez Masto told the Daily Beast.

But there’s no denying that investments in Latinos will be game-changers — so much so that Gonzalez says even Democrats can do more.

“I always thought there had to be more and I’m biased…” she said. “We can’t just paint with a broad brush. So I think there’s definitely more work needed, you know, by the party to engage, motivate, and mobilize Latinos to vote for them — and it’s an important opportunity.”

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