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Cortez Masto Will Be First Latina U.S. Senator

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Catherin

Catherine Cortez Masto has won a nail biter Senate race and will keep the seat of retiring Sen. Harry Reid in Democratic hands. Our News Director Michelle Billman has the story.

The two-term former Nevada attorney general triumphed over three-term Republican Rep. Joe Heck. Political analyst Precious Hall says it came down to Heck's decision to drop his support for the now president-elect, Republican Donald Trump. Heck did so after video footage emerged of Trump discussing how he had groped and kissed multiple women.

"The last month of the campaign for Joe Heck has not been particularly kind for him and this had always been a close race. He made a couple of crucial mistakes last month that ultimately cost him the election."

Hall says that Heck's choice not to disclose who he would be voting for for president, was another critical error that left voters questioning him.

The race attracted mountains of outside cash from donors and included scathing political ads. Hall says those negative ads detracted from substantive conversations about real issues.

"What we do know is that Nevada has now made history by electing the first Latina to the U.S. Senate, and unfortunately, outside of that, we don't know very much more. She hasn't been very forthcoming in terms of the policies she's particularly passionate about."

Heck allies sought to portray Cortez Masto as corrupt during her time as the state's top prosecutor. Her campaign framed her as a "bipartisan problem solver" independent of the polarizing Reid who has held the seat since the 1980's.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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