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How a Vulnerable Nevada Dem Just Gave the Middle Finger to Latino Voters

The only logical reaction to this story is this: lady, what the hell are you doing? Nevada has become the sleeper race in the closing weeks of the 2022 midterms because Democrats are imploding. The political machine built by the late Democratic Sen. Harry Reid that provided a political steel curtain of protection for his party is dissolving at the worst moment. The state party's leadership got a far-left makeover, which caused a flurry of resignations from Reid's allies. Intraparty squabbles further crippled the apparatus while Reid’s former top lieutenant, Rebecca Lambe, a firecracker political operative, did her best to maintain the system. Yet, this was an institutional crackup that was too great to mend, and now the GOP is surging, and labor unions, a key voting bloc in the Reid machine, are sitting on the sidelines. 

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To further compound Nevada Democrats’ troubles, Latino voters appear unwilling to turn out to support incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto; the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate. This recent development has sent the national Democratic Party into panic mode. Latinos remain neutral because they’re not thrilled with the state of the economy and the quality of the job market. Inflation has hammered the state like a sledgehammer, and Masto is AWOL. And now, Masto appears to be doing everything she can to worsen relations with the state’s Hispanic voter base. She was awarded a community leadership award from a Latino advocacy group and decided to ditch the event (via Washington Free Beacon):

Around 8:30 p.m. Friday night, three of Nevada's top Latina Democrats posed arm-in-arm at the Factory of Dreams banquet hall in Las Vegas, with the women eager to show off their newly won Hispanic Community Leadership Appreciation Awards. But one honoree was missing from the photo op—Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D.), who snubbed the event.

Cortez Masto often invokes her status as "the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Senate" in her tight reelection bid against Republican Adam Laxalt, which could determine who controls the Senate next year. That title in part prompted El Concilio Hispano, a Hispanic media group that runs a top Latino talk radio program in Nevada, to honor the Democrat at its 2022 Hispanic Heritage Month Leadership Awards. The event's other three guests of honor—Las Vegas city councilwoman Olivia Diaz, state assemblywoman and Nevada AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Susie Martinez (D.), and Lieutenant Governor Lisa Cano Burkhead (D.), who is also on the ballot this November—accepted their awards in person. Cortez Masto sent a surrogate.

Cortez Masto's decision to ditch the event, which included an array of Hispanic community leaders, is a curious one with Election Day just weeks away. Hispanic voters may very well decide Cortez Masto's political fate—roughly 20 percent of Nevada midterm voters are expected to be Latino, according to a National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials report. Years ago, that stat would have been music to Cortez Masto's ears. The Democrat in 2016 enjoyed 61 percent of the Latino vote, exit polls show. Six years later, however, Cortez Masto's Latino support appears to have diminished considerably as many working-class Nevadans sour on President Joe Biden's economy. An October poll from USA Today and Suffolk University found that just 49 percent of Hispanic voters back Cortez Masto.

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You cannot write a better script about incompetence. We’re weeks away from Election Day, with Masto struggling with Hispanic voters, and she decides to snub this awards event. It fits the other narrative that Nevada Latino voters have about their senator: she’s never around. Meanwhile, Nevada’s police union handed Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak a vote of no confidence. Clark County teachers’ union endorsed the governor in his last run and has opted to withhold their endorsement this year. To say this isn’t ominous would be an understatement. 

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