Nevada Senate race tightening, still a toss-up

Nevada Senate race tightening, still a toss-up

In Nevada, two days after Election Day, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s race to defend her seat against the challenge from Republican Adam Laxalt is still a toss-up, and the outcome may not be known for days. Late Thursday evening, with about 87% of the results in, Laxalt’s lead over Cortez Masto fell to just under a point, and the margin separating the two is now around 8,000 votes.

Ballots are still being counted in the state’s most populous county, Clark County, where 91% of the vote is in. In 2016, Cortez Masto won the county by over 80,000 votes.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria told reporters in Las Vegas Wednesday that he expects that the ballots in that county may be counted by next Thursday, at the latest, and the canvass of the vote would take place next Friday.

Cortez Masto, 58, is considered to be the most vulnerable Democratic senator fighting for reelection, and if Laxalt, a former state attorney general, defeats her, it will be a crucial pickup for Republicans looking to flip the seat and gain control of the upper chamber. Three Senate races are still to be decided. The Senate races in Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia are still to be called. Georgia’s Senate race will go to a runoff in December.

Cortez Masto became the nation’s first Latina senator when she won the race in 2016 to succeed the late Sen. Harry Reid when he retired at the end of his term. She and Laxalt were neck-and-neck heading into Election Day, according to a recent CBS News poll.

– Alyssa Spady and Elizabeth Campbell contributed to this report.

The race

Nevada Senate race critical to Democrats’ hopes of keeping power in Congress

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Laxalt, 44, served as Nevada’s attorney general for one term before unsuccessfully running for governor against Steve Sisolak in 2018, who became the first Democrat to win the governorship in two decades. His grandfather, Paul Laxalt (a former Navy officer and veteran of Iraq War), was a governor and U.S. Senator for Nevada. He became the first Democrat to win the governorship in two decades. But 14 of Laxalt’s family members have publicly thrown their support behind Cortez Masto.

In the 2020 election, Laxalt served as co-chairman of the former President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in Nevada, and he has echoed Trump’s unfounded claims the election was stolen from him. In the 2022 election cycle, Laxalt has refused to say whether he would accept the results.

He’s been joined on the campaign trail by both Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis worked to boost support for Cortez Masto.

While Laxalt has focused his campaign messaging around the economy, attempting to link Cortez Masto and President Biden to high gas prices and record inflation, the issue of abortion has boosted Cortez Masto. The race is still close because there are fewer voters who prioritize abortion over the economy and inflation.

Latino voters have helped propel past Democrats to victory in past elections and are expected to make up 20% of the state’s electorate in the midterms. Mr. Biden won 65% of the Latino vote and the state overall by just over 33,600 votes in 2020. Both candidates are working hard to get Latino voters in this election. CBS News’s most recent polling found that Cortez Mato was leading with Latino voters by a double-digit margin over Laxalt.

Musadiq Bidar

CBS News reporter covering politics and tech.

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