Welcome to my diary series titled “Majority Savers”! I will run a new article every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. The goal of this series is to highlight races that may make or break our current slender majorities in Congress. That means I will start more with incumbent Senators and House members until some primary elections are settled. If I have time, I will expand it to governors as well in critical swing states.
If you want to find my previous entries in this series, I recommend following me or searching for “Majority Savers” as a tag!
I have six ground rules behind the philosophy of this series. I’d ask you all to respect them as best you can, because these are taking me quite a long time to write. Here are my ground rules.
Today, I am focusing on an incumbent Senator who is the chosen successor to the venerable former Sen. Harry Reid. The state of Nevada is a bellwether for the entire nation, and it is unlikely we control the Senate without re-electing Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in 2022! Go below the fold to read more about her!
This isn’t intended to be a biography of Cortez Masto. If you are interested in more of her background, go ahead and read HERE. I have pulled out what I feel are the relevant highlights.
- Her father served as a Clark County Commissioner, and became close with Sen. Harry Reid. This was at a time where the GOP was dominant in the state and allies were scarce. Remember that Sen. Reid was targeted by a bomber for his early work in Las Vegas. True story.
- She earned a degree in finance from Univ. of Nevada-Reno, and then also earned a law degree from Gonzaga University. This gave her the perfect background to be integrated into the political machine Sen. Reid was destined to build one day.
- She won election as Attorney General of Nevada in 2006, and won re-election in 2010. This proves that she can win in adverse years as well! She took on foes such as the Bank of America after the 2008 financial crisis, which proved to be popular.
In addition to the above issues in the quote, she has been commended for the following issues:
Immigration: Cortez Masto has been one of the most friendly when it comes to Dreamers. She has pushed for DACA recipients to be eligible for federally backed loans. One of her first courses of action as Senator was to inquire about the treatment of pregnant immigrants in detention centers.
Gun Safety: After the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017, she led the charge alongside Sen. Feinstein to ban bump stocks. She also is opposed to people on any terrorist watchlists from buying guns in the country. She proudly gets an F from the extremist NRA, which should be seen as a badge of honor these days.
Her DW Nominate Score is -0.365, which puts her roughly in the middle of the Democratic caucus. She is more liberal than 80% of the Senators, and more liberal than roughly 60% of the Democratic caucus.
Recent Elections —
2020 President: Joe Biden (D) 50.1%, TFG (R-inc) 47.7%
2016 Senate: Catherine Cortez Masto (D) 47.1%, Joe Heck (R) 44.7%
2022 Race Rating: Tossup
2022 PVI: EVEN
Nevada is the most accurate bellwether state in the nation, now that Ohio and Missouri have lost that status with their frog march to the right. Nevada has voted for the winner of the presidential election EVERY time since 1912, except for 1976 and 2016. This accurate record is why the state should remain one of the first in the nation to conduct a presidential primary as an aside.
It used to be the mining unions that held the political strength for the Democratic Party, while the ranchers voted heavily Republican. When Las Vegas started growing, the political calculus changed as more and more of the vote got concentrated in the Las Vegas metro area as the state grew rapidly. As a Sun Belt state, it generally leaned Republican before the Obama years, with Clinton the only one to win the state thanks to Ross Perot.
The 2008 financial crisis brought a HUGE change to the state, with Obama easily winning the state and every Democratic presidential candidate following him doing so as well. The SEIU and Culinary Workers Union form the core of the vaunted (former) Sen. Harry Reid Machine, which has adeptly won many statewide races that have been written off by pundits. However, Nevada is creeping back to the right, and it voted to the right of the nation in 2020. This means that we have to redouble our efforts in the state!
Political Tour of the State
Nevada has been one of the fastest growing states in the nation for most of my lifetime. It is said that the turnover in the state, known as transience, is also amongst the highest in the nation. That means that with each election, the politicians have to reintroduce themselves to the electorate. The voters can be up to a quarter or a third different from the last election percentage wise. Must be a nightmare to phone bank! Luckily, the Democratic Party relies on the Reid Machine to turn out its voters.
Here’s where this race will be won in Nevada.
- Clark County: The Las Vegas area counts for roughly three-quarters of the population of the state, so it is critical for our side to hit a certain benchmark percentage wise AND vote wise or we are screwed. Luckily, the vaunted Reid Machine works here through the SEIU and Culinary Unions to turn out the casino worker vote. Our party MUST hit around a 10% spread and 300,000-400,000 votes to offset the rest of the state.
- Washoe County: This is the other metropolitan area in Nevada, with Reno being increasingly critical in our calculus to win the state. To be honest, Washoe County saved our bacon in 2020 because we BARELY hit the benchmark in Clark County. It is important that this swing county stay as close to 50-50 as possible (of course, winning it is even better!). If we are losing this county badly, we have lost Nevada.
Here’s where we need to keep the margins down, or we lose.
- The Cow Counties: This is pretty much everywhere else in the state, and we lose these areas by lopsided margins. This is Cliven Bundy country, where the native Nevadans are increasingly distrustful of government and of the Las Vegas and Reno metro areas and their transplants. Supercharged turnout from the cow counties is NOT a good sign for us.
- Nye County: This county bears watching, because the Pahrump area is the best hope for Republicans regaining a foothold in this state. The area is filling up fast and is one of the fastest growing in the state. The inhabitants seem to the reflexively GOP, likely transplants from California. If this trend continues, the delicate balance of the state could be upended.
Activism — Help How You Can!
In Quarter 1, Sen. CCM raised a gargantuan $4.34 MILLION dollars, which is a great amount when compared to her GOP rivals. She outraised the both of them combined, which is an excellent place for any contender to be. She will likely need more as she has to reintroduce herself to Nevada’s new voters.
Cortez Masto also has a superb amount stashed away in the bank, with $11.08 MILLION cash on hand. This is MUCH more than her GOP rivals, but they will likely be buoyed by a torrent of dark money aimed at defeating her. Personally, I don’t think she needs the money, but I have a $10 recurring donation to her every month as I do the rest of the vulnerable senators in our caucus. I won’t dissuade you from chipping in if you so desire, however!
DONATE TO SEN. CORTEZ MASTO HERE
If social media is more your thing, you can follow Cortez Masto on Twitter. She has only 35.7k followers, which is rather low for an incumbent Senator. She doesn’t soak up the spotlight like many other Senators do, but she will have to make herself much more well known to survive in 2022.
You can also follow her on Facebook at catherinecortezmasto or on Instagram at cortezmasto!
Finally, here is a link to her campaign site, https://catherinecortezmasto.com/, which is probably the best way to volunteer for her campaign at this time!
Thank you for taking the time to read about our endangered incumbent in the Nevada Senate seat, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto! Hopefully, this diary is enough inspiration to help her out in some way. Nevada is one of those tricky states to win, and it being a midterm makes it even harder. Our majority may hinge upon us winning this seat!