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Stories from the KUNR newsroom and regional partners related to the 2022 elections

Nevada re-elects Democratic Sen. Cortez Masto, determining balance of the U.S. Senate

Catherine Cortez Masto sits in the center of a table with three other people. There is a firefighter in a white shirt and black tie on either side of her. Everyone is masked and looking at someone who is out of focus.
Lucia Starbuck
/
KUNR Public Radio
Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto spoke with health and fire officials in Washoe County to learn about the impacts of wildfire smoke, in Reno, Nev., on Aug. 18, 2021.

Nevada Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has won a second term in office. The race was neck and neck with Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. The Associated Press didn’t call it until a large batch of mail-in ballots came in from Clark County on Saturday evening, putting Cortez Masto in the lead. With her win, Democrats retain control of the Senate.

Cortez Masto became the first elected Latina senator in 2016 and previously served as Nevada’s attorney general. Key issues in the race were federal government spending, abortion, and law enforcement.

Cortez Masto has touted her help in passing bills like the American Rescue Plan Act in early 2021, which brought billions of relief funds to Nevada to help the hard-hit tourism industry, ramp up COVID-19 vaccine production, and reopen schools. It also gave people $1,400 stimulus checks. Some financial experts argue this bill contributed to inflation in 2022. More recently, Cortez Masto also helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act, to lower the cost of prescription drugs, invest in solar and geothermal energy production, and combat drought in states along the Colorado River.

Former President Donald Trump called Cortez Masto a rubber stamp for President Joe Biden. At times, the senator has distanced herself from his administration. She opposed Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, saying it doesn’t address the root problems that make college unaffordable.

Cortez Masto received endorsements from multiple law enforcement unions in Nevada and from retiring Reno Police Chief Jason Soto. She co-introduced a bill to provide $250 million over the next five years for small and rural police departments encapsulating almost all police forces in Nevada, and secured $1.4 million for the Sparks Police Department to upgrade equipment. She does not support defunding police, which was a rallying cry in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd.

Cortez Masto has promised to protect access to reproductive rights and said she’ll fight against a national ban. The procedure is protected for up to 24 weeks under state law.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
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