Democrats stand to lose control of Senate if they lose seat in Nevada to GOP

Democrats currently enjoy the “majority” in the evenly-split Senate solely because of the tie-breaker vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, and the party is desperate to cling to every single seat they hold in what appears to be a midterm election cycle that is favorable for the Republicans.

One of the seats that Democrats are concerned about potentially losing is that of Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who is facing off against a strong challenge from Republican candidate Adam Laxalt, The Hill reported.

In fact, there is some speculation that the Nevada seat could end up being the deciding factor in which of the two parties will control the Senate in the next term, assuming all of the other seats up for election in this cycle match up with the predicted outcomes.

As goes Nevada, so goes the Senate, some say

“This is the most important race on the map for Republicans or Democrats,” one unnamed GOP strategist told The Hill of Nevada, and added, “in Laxalt, you’ve got a candidate who can carry the change message very clearly, unify all clans in the Republican Party and is running a good race.”

Democrats have also stressed the importance of the Western swing state and how crucial it will be to keep it in the blue column for the next congressional term.

“Democrats have shown that they have the ability to get out the vote and win close races in Nevada,” an anonymous Democratic operative said. “The Cortez Masto campaign and Nevada Democrats are prepared for what they have to do this fall in order to be successful.”

Hitting the major issues in a “toss-up” state

According to the Cook Political Report, the Nevada seat is one of only four seats in the 2022 cycle that has been rated as a genuine “toss-up,” and veteran GOP strategist Colin Reed told The Hill that Nevada is “one of the best pick-up opportunities for Republicans.”

Signaling the importance of that seat, Democrats have poured tens of millions of dollars into the state and launched ad campaigns to attack Laxalt over the issue of abortion as well as his support for former President Donald Trump.

Cortez Masto herself has also been hammering the abortion issue, but The Hill noted that it may not be as salient there as in other states following the end of Roe v. Wade, given that Nevada already has laws protecting abortion procedures up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, polling shows solid majorities of Nevada voters consider themselves “pro-choice,” and Laxalt hasn’t really pressed the issue as some other Republicans have.

Instead, Laxalt has worked to tie his Democratic opponent to the decidedly unpopular President Joe Biden and has been hitting Cortez Masto hard on economic issues like inflation.

Slim lead in the polls for Cortez Masto

Most of the polls for the Nevada race show Sen. Cortez Masto with a slim lead — just 1.7 percent in the RealClearPolitics average, and up to 3.8 percent according to FiveThirtyEight‘s calculations.

This race in Nevada truly could come down to the wire, and if GOP turnout exceeds expectations and actually is a “wave” election, as some have predicted, the Silver State will quite possibly be seating a new senator in January and control of the Senate will just as likely shift over from Democrats to Republicans.

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