Washington, D.C. – Catherine Cortez Masto’s track record proves that she does not care about the Hispanic community in Nevada. Hispanic families in Nevada are hurting thanks to Cortez Masto and Joe Biden’s agenda that is impacting their daily lives. Hispanics know that Cortez Masto is a vote for Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer not Nevada.
As dark clouds linger over the US economy, America’s first Latina senator could be punished by the working-class voters who elected her.
If the city of Las Vegas is all glitz and glamour, the history-making senator from the state of Nevada is anything but.
Even her backers admit that some voters don’t know her full name and just call her “la senadora” instead.
That all spells trouble for Ms Cortez Masto, who analysts consider “the most vulnerable Democrat” in the Senate – and the Latino voters who helped to put her in office six years ago might be the ones to sink her re-election bid.
But it’s easy to see why she was well-positioned for office.
Her father Manny was a back-slapping Nevada politician who worked his way up from parking valet to lawyer to president of the powerful government agency that promotes the state’s all-important tourism industry.
He was friends with the long-serving Nevada Democratic senator Harry Reid, who hand-picked Ms Cortez Masto, a former prosecutor and two-term state attorney general, as his replacement.
Mr Reid spent years building Democratic strength in the state, and his backing is widely credited with delivering victories like her 2016 win.
She lost 16 of Nevada’s 17 counties but dominated in Clark County, where more than 70% of the state’s population lives, including the service workers who keep the lights running in Las Vegas.
But record-high inflation and a sluggish economy in 2022 have taken their toll in a state reliant on tourism and hospitality.
“People are barely surviving today,” said Leo Murrieta, a director at Make the Road Action (MRA), a Latino voter outreach group.
“They talk to us about how hard it is to get by, how hard it is to pay rent, to raise kids and save for the future.”
Ms Cortez Masto is neck-and-neck with her challenger Adam Laxalt, 44, her successor as attorney general.
One recent poll has him inching ahead with Latinos, who make up one in five eligible voters in Nevada.
Mr Laxalt is banking on this dip in their once-robust support for Democrats to win.
Central to that effort is Operación ¡Vamos! – a massive Republican operation that has reached some 250,000 Latino voters in Nevada and hopes to turn them off what it labels the Democrats’ “far-left agenda”.
“So many Hispanic folks really didn’t even know her,” Republican consultant Ana Carbonell said of Ms Cortez Masto. “The Democratic party has systematically taken Hispanics for granted.”
“My life is definitely not better now than it was two, three years ago,” said Iris Ramos Jones, an Ecuadorean immigrant. She is voting Republican because she feels the country is “on the wrong path,” she said.
The affordability crisis in the state even prompted a Democrat-voting friend to tell Ms Ramos Jones that he and his wife “have seen the light”.
“We have officially registered as Republicans,” he wrote. “We hate what is happening and we know who’s responsible.”
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