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Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto wins Nevada Senate race

Justin Sullivan
Getty Images
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, in Las Vegas last month. The Democrat defeated Adam Laxalt, a Trump-backed Republican and former Nevada attorney general.

Nevada incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto survived a challenge, defeating Republican Adam Laxalt and helping Democrats hold onto U.S. Senate, according to the Associated Press call of the race.

Nevada was one of Republicans' top targets as they tried to break the Senate's 50-50 split, and Cortez Masto's reelection was a toss-up coming into the election. She was running neck and neck with Laxalt, Nevada's former attorney general who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Cortez Masto served two terms as Nevada's attorney general before becoming the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. She campaigned on women's reproductive rights, criticizing Laxalt for calling the Roe v Wade decision "a joke," the Nevada Independent reported, and categorizing a vote for her opponent as an "automatic vote for a federal abortion ban."

Laxalt tried to pull voters in by promising to combat inflation, which he attributed to poor decision-making by Cortez Masto and President Biden. He also promised to help secure America's southern border, including resuming Trump's border wall project.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Getty Images
Republican Adam Laxalt in Minden, Nev., last month.

The Republican candidate was also a proponent of the former president's claims that the 2020 election results were a sham, and referred to Trump as the current president during a phone call earlier this summer, NPR previously reported.

Less than one month before the election, 14 members of Laxalt's family wrote a three-page letter endorsing his opponent, the Nevada Independent reported. The letter praises Cortez Masto and her positions on women's issues and public land preservation, her record as attorney general and more.

"We believe that Catherine possesses a set of qualities that clearly speak of what we like to call 'Nevada grit,' " the letter said. "No further comments will be made, as we believe this letter speaks for itself."


Laxalt responded to the letter over Twitter, saying he wasn't surprised that some Democratic members of his family are supporting another Democrat, despite living out of state.

That wasn't the first time Laxalt's family spoke up about his role in politics. Twelve relatives wrote a letter opposing his bid during his 2018 run for governor.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: November 13, 2022 at 12:00 AM EST
A photo caption in an earlier version of this story mistakenly said voters elected Republican Adam Laxalt over incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate. Cortez Masto defeated Laxalt to keep her seat, according to a projection by the Associated Press.
Dustin Jones
Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.