Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto will win reelection, CNN projects, allowing Democrats to keep the Senate

Nov 12, 2022, 7:53 PM | Updated: 7:54 pm

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will win reelection in Nevada, CNN projects, clinching a cri...

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will win reelection in Nevada, CNN projects, clinching a critical victory that will allow Democrats to keep control of the US Senate. (Photo credit: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

 (CNN) — Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will win reelection in Nevada, CNN projects, clinching a critical victory that will allow Democrats to keep control of the US Senate.

Cortez Masto had long been viewed as one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents as she fended off a challenge from former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt in a state whose economy had been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and inflation.

With Cortez Masto — the first Latina senator — securing a second term, Democrats will hold 50 seats and Republicans will hold 49. Democrats are also defending a seat in Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker are headed to a December 6 runoff. But even if Republicans pick up that seat, the chamber would still be evenly divided, allowing Vice President Kamala Harris to still hold the tie-breaking vote. Democrats were able to hold the majority, in part, because they picked up a seat in Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, defeated Trump-backed Mehmet Oz in the contest to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

Control of the US House still hangs in the balance and may not be determined for some time with ballots left to be counted in closely contested races in California, as well as other states.

Laxalt was closely allied with former President Donald Trump after aiding his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the Silver State. But it was the state’s difficult economic climate — with one of the nation’s highest inflation rates and gas prices that still topped $5 a gallon in October — that became the animating force in this Senate contest.

Cortez Masto was elected in 2016 to replace outgoing Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who had been a powerful force in Nevada politics for decades. She touted her efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic to steer comprehensive relief and recovery aid to the convention, trade show, entertainment and hospitality industries that are central to the state’s economy.

One of the biggest challenges she faced is that much of Nevada’s population is transient — meaning many voters had not gotten to know Cortez Masto or her record. Laxalt and Republican allied groups sought to tie the Democratic senator to President Joe Biden, whose approval ratings are underwater in a state that he narrowly won in 2020.

Though there are many economic forces at play in driving inflation, including Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues and the effects of the pandemic, the GOP argued that the spending and relief bills pushed by Democrats led to the sticker shock that many Nevadans are feeling at the gas pump and the grocery store. Cortez Masto focused on Democrats’ legislative efforts to reduce Americans’ costs, including on health care and prescription drugs, while trying to tie her Republican opponent to “big oil.”

Cortez Masto also tried to remind voters of Laxalt’s history as one of Trump’s campaign co-chairs and accused him of pushing an “extreme agenda” and conspiracy theories that she said fueled the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

She and allied Democratic groups also tried to argue that Laxalt would put abortion rights at risk in Nevada, even though they are protected up to 24 weeks by a 1990 voter referendum. In an Op-Ed for the Reno Gazette Journal, Laxalt pushed back — stating that abortion access was settled law in the state and that he would not support a federal ban on abortion.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

someone taps on facebook icon, utah lawmakers working to protect kids from social media...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker talks about his work to shield kids from social media

State Sen. Mike McKell discusses the legislation he has sponsored to undo the harm to Utah children from social media.

7 hours ago

governor spencer and rep phil lyman shown, lyman is calling the signatures from cox's campaign into...

Peter Johnston

Governor candidate Phil Lyman calls for audit into Gov. Spencer Cox’s signatures

Rep. Phil Lyman is calling for an audit to look into whether the signatures Gov. Spencer Cox gathered should count.

8 hours ago

Wyoming has an artificial intelligence running for mayor....

Michael Camit

An artificial intelligence is running for mayor in Wyoming

An artificial intelligence running for mayor? Sounds like science fiction but it's happening in Wyoming in 2024.

13 hours ago

Supreme Court Police officers stand on duty outside of the Supreme Court building on Thursday, June...

MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

The Supreme Court upholds a gun control law intended to protect domestic violence victims

The Supreme Court has upheld a federal gun control law on Friday with intentions to protect domestic violence victims.

16 hours ago

Image of Temple Mountain found on BLM land within Emery County, Utah. (Mike Coronella)...

Aimee Cobabe

Utah files lawsuit over BLM Public Lands Rule

In the lawsuit, Utah accuses the BLM of taking a "museum-like" approach to the state's public lands.

1 day ago

coal power plant in Delta, utah...

Alexandrea Bonilla and Kennedy Camerana

Special session addresses future coal needs in Utah

Lawmakers approved a bill that changes the ownership of a coal plant in Delta, Utah, thereby giving the state more control.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto will win reelection, CNN projects, allowing Democrats to keep the Senate