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Candidate of the Week

Catherine Cortez Masto
Nevada

Senator since 2017

Challenged by Adam Laxalt

I have a record in support of a woman’s right to choose. And my opponent, Adam Laxalt, opposes it, and will take it away.

Catherine Cortez Masto
Voting Record

Generally speaking, Cortez Masto falls in line with her Democratic counterparts. When there is the occasional divergent vote, it often looks one of two ways. The first crops up around judicial appointments, which have often provided a platform for Cortez Masto to express her disapproval of any Department of Justice business conducted under the Trump Administration.

The second might appear around bills that include managerial items on nuclear waste, renewable energy, land use, or defense planning. These items disproportionately impact Nevada and are heavily scrutinized by voters, which is why Cortez Masto’s record bears out in favor of her constituency over the party.

This exact dynamic played out during Rita Baranwal’s confirmation to lead the Office of Nuclear Energy. Although Baranwal was ultimately confirmed by a supermajority, Masto opposed her appointment because of Baranwal’s willingness to revive the Yucca Mountain project — a controversial nuclear waste repository program proposed in 1987.

Nuclear energy might be the stickiest subject in Nevada’s relationship with the federal government, already complicated by joint management of Nevada’s rural lands. On the one hand, the lingering controversy has eroded constituents’ trust of the federal government; on the other, the federal government grows increasingly frustrated over the project’s delay, which was recently implicated in its willingness to cooperate with Nevada on other business.

There always existed legitimate financial and ecological questions around Yucca Mountain. Now, Nevadans worry most about the project’s untold impact on public health. Moreover, developing scientific evidence suggests the site may no longer be geologically sound. According to Cortez Masto and her congressional colleagues, what matters most is that Nevadans flatly rejected the project back in 1987.

Last year, Cortez Masto called on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to investigate alternative uses for the Yucca site. She believes an OMB report will finally prove to the federal government that rezoning the site presents greater financial opportunities for everyone involved.

Policy Positions
Endorsements
Organizations:
2017 Endorsements:
Opponent

On June 14th, 2022, Adam Laxalt won the Nevada Republican primary with the backing of former President Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, and Governor Ron DeSantis. Laxalt is not new to the world of Republican politics. He served as the Attorney General of Nevada from 2015 to 2019. His grandfather, Paul Laxalt, was formerly the Senator of Nevada and a close political ally of Ronald Reagan. His father, Pete Domenici, served as Senator of New Mexico. For these reasons, Laxalt wields a certain level of name recognition within the GOP as well as within the state of Nevada.

In 2020, Laxalt served as the Nevada co-chair of the Trump presidential campaign and later parroted Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud. After the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, he suggested that Democrats and the media had exaggerated the seriousness and magnitude of the attack. This dangerous attitude seeps into Laxalt’s political platform and policy positions. He has publicly promoted anti-immigration sentiments tied to replacement theory, a white supremacist conspiracy that considers people of color, including Black Americans and Mexican immigrants, as “replacers” of white Americans. His deeply racist beliefs continue to inform his views on immigration reform; according to Laxalt’s campaign website, he vows to “work to finish the wall,” supports a “remain in Mexico” policy, and opposes “dangerous sanctuary city policies.”

Laxalt poses a grave threat to reproductive rights and federal gun control measures. He is staunchly pro-life, promising to oppose proposals to pass federal protections for safe abortion access. Yet, Laxalt’s so-called pro-life stance falters when it comes to supporting essential, life-saving measures to protect Americans from gun violence. His candidacy is officially endorsed by prominent gun rights lobbying organizations, including the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America. In line with their interests, Laxalt proposed using billions in federal funding to beef up school security rather than supporting gun control measures in the wake of the tragic Uvalde shooting.

A true Trumpian Republican, Adam Laxalt is a dangerous choice for Nevada—and America.
- Iman Husain

Current Polling
49%
Cortez Masto
39%
Laxalt

Date: July 5th-20th, 2022
Pollster: Beacon Research and the Environmental Voter Project
Source: FiveThirtyEight.com

State

First, there’s the story of how Nevada’s population growth. It's commonly told that someone will go looking for the West and stop short of the coast. Case in point, the recent census says that 20 percent of Nevada’s population are California emigrants, 100,000 relocating to Las Vegas just last year. “Twenty-five percent population growth in three decades,” a local paper proclaimed alongside headlines of climate change.

Second is the story of what Nevada is made of. The state is not only a monolithic desert mirage, a neon scene you’d recognize from a postcard. It’s the Great Basin, technically — a behemoth known for dead waterbeds and buttressing stony peaks. This part of Nevada, which is most of it, remains uninhabited because it is the country’s mine. Nevada claims at least $8 billion in mining revenue each year. No industry rivals it, except for gaming, which is why some 3/4ths of the working people live around its cities.

Last, there is the question of how these two stories make one, a tale of things to come. Newcomers are not yet gentrifiers. Working folk can still buy a home, but life is more than just the cost of living. Meanwhile, anxieties air about halted infrastructure, commercial developments, a real public transit system. Dare the taxpayers suggest big gaming pay for these. No one has the money to spend in a pandemic, let alone money to bet with.

Chatter about the land too. For years to come, politicians, private contractors, and even high school teachers have been saying, “Nevada has a unique opportunity to innovate and shape the conversation on renewable energy.” Blue voters and red voters alike band together to ask with urgency: Will this vision of renewable energy come true? Someone old enough to remember a time before Yucca, might answer, “It's not that simple once the Feds are involved.”