Nevada – Enigmatic Battleground State

Nevada, long a blue state and now purple, is pivotal for the midterms but difficult to call.  Elections are uniquely challenging to forecast in Nevada, since the electorate is highly transient – half of all voters are new to the state since 2016 – and the largest bloc in the state is unaffiliated voters. Latinos, who make up nearly a quarter of the state’s population, traditionally have voted Democratic in Nevada. Yet many now are voting Republican because of the economy.  Nevadans are heavily dependent on the Las Vegas economy, so many vote out of pocketbook concerns. But Nevadans also care deeply about voting rights, access to abortion, education, fair immigration policies, and other key social issues. So Nevada is politically balanced on a knife edge, and we can make a real difference here with our grassroots power!   

So what’s happening now in Nevada? Here’s an update on the most important midterm races:

Senate: The race between incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Adam Laxalt (R), both former Nevada Attorneys General, is rated a Toss Up by Cook Political Report. Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the Senate, is considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senators in the 2022 midterms. Cortez Masto has been hailed as a champion for women’s and abortion rights. But as the Democratic incumbent, she also has been dogged by narrative that Biden and the Democrats have ruined the economy. This perception has lost her Latino support. Opponent Laxalt is a Trump protege who has called the 2020 election “rigged” and Roe v. Wade “a joke.” Although Cortez Masto has raised more funds than Laxalt has to date, Republicans are pumping money into this race in anticipation of a flip. We must win this race to keep the Senate! The Cortez Masto campaign needs grassroots donations and help with Nevada postcards and phonebanks.

Governor: The race between sitting Governor Steve Sisolak (D) and current Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, is also rated a Toss-Up by Cook Political. Governor Sisolak, who has successfully defended Nevada from Republican extremists in the legislature, is weighed down by the same anti-Biden economic propaganda as Senator Cortez Masto. Like the Senator, Sisolak also has lost Latino votes due to emphasis on the economy. Lombardo, a pro-life Trump endorsee, accuses Sisolak of crippling Nevada’s tourism-heavy economy with coronavirus restrictions. Donate to the Sisolak campaign or to the Democratic Governors Association to help Steve Sisolak keep blue control of this key swing state.

Secretary of State: The race between Cisco Aguilar (D) and former state Rep. Jim Marchant (R) is frightening, potentially putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop.  The Secretary of State position is the official responsible for overseeing elections in the state. Marchant is a flagrant election denier who would not have certified Biden’s election in 2020 and who would favor “alternate electors” in 2024. Marchant himself lost a congressional race in 2020 and, taking a page from the Trump playbook, claimed without evidence that the election was stolen from him. His number one priority is to “overhaul the fraudulent election system in Nevada.” Meanwhile, Aguilar favors an extensive set of strategies to counter voter suppression and make sure that all votes are cast and counted. Vote Forward has a new experimental initiative (Lab) in support of Cisco Aguilar, the first candidate ever to receive the support of a Vote Forward campaign. Or donate to the Democratic-association-of-secretaries-of-state (DASS) which provides financial support to SOS candidates.