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Laxalt questions why Biden isn’t in Nevada for Cortez Masto

President’s popularity could weigh down Democrat in tight Senate race

Kashyap "Kash" Patel hands the microphone to U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt during the campaign stop at Chilly Jill’z restaurant in Boulder City, Nev., on Monday.
Kashyap "Kash" Patel hands the microphone to U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt during the campaign stop at Chilly Jill’z restaurant in Boulder City, Nev., on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BOULDER CITY, Nev. — The candidates in Nevada’s tight Senate race are making their final pitches to voters and seeking to rally their respective bases now that early voting is well underway.

Republican Adam Laxalt, the former state attorney general seeking to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, has been on a bus tour targeting some of the state’s less populous and heavily red areas, where he’s likely to run up margins if voters turn out.

A key part of Laxalt’s message, which focuses on inflation, the border and crime, is the president’s absence from Nevada during the closing stages of the campaign.

“Her record is she supported Joe Biden every step of the way. That’s why she doesn’t want Joe Biden to come here, because then she’s gonna have to actually stand next to him and stand next to her voting record,” Laxalt told an audience of Republican voters at a restaurant in Boulder City on the southeast outskirts of Clark County Monday night.

“I ask people all over the state. I ask Democrats and independents. I asked Uber drivers and they all say Joe Biden, we know who gave us $6 gas,” Laxalt said. “Let me tell you, voters are gonna remember that here in the next few days, as we’re voting across the state of Nevada.”

Regular unleaded was selling for $4.99 a gallon at the nearby Railroad Pass Chevron station on the day of Laxalt’s visit, with many stations in Nevada charging higher prices in recent days.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks to a crowd at Broadacres Marketplace in North Las Vegas, Nev., on Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Laxalt and Cortez Masto could never come to terms for a head-to-head debate despite the efforts of numerous Nevada media outlets, which is likely a loss for Nevada’s voters as both the incumbent and the challenger are adept politicians.

Cortez Masto spent the weekend touring with other leaders on the Democratic ticket throughout southern Nevada, making stops aimed at ensuring turnout among members of the Democratic base, from Latino voters to Asian American Pacific Islanders and younger voters.

“Our AAPI community is a force to be reckoned with,” Cortez Masto said Saturday night at a block party event in Las Vegas’ Chinatown. “It has grown, your voices matter, your votes can make a difference in our community, what we want it to look like, what we want to fight for, whether it’s our small businesses, our children, their future, your opportunities, that’s what it’s about.”

She said Republicans on the ballot next month support efforts to restrict voting and “want to take away everything that we have fought for. And so we have to know the difference. And we have to tell our friends and our neighbors.”

Voters seemed to be taking advantage of the numerous methods of voting, including in-person early voting sites and mail-in ballots. At a Republican-heavy polling place at Sun City Anthem, a 55+ community in Henderson, a steady stream of voters was showing up, many to place signed ballot envelopes directly in a secure drop box. Across town, on a campus of the College of Southern Nevada, CQ Roll Call journalists observed part of the process of securing voting machines as an early voting site closed for the day on Monday.

At the Laxalt event down the road in Boulder City, many attendees appeared to be more eager to vote on Election Day, and one of the introductory speakers was Jim Marchant, the GOP nominee for secretary of state who has pushed an assortment of unfounded election-related conspiracies.

“It’s imperative that we all get out and vote en masse this … election cycle,” Marchant said. “That way we can overcome anything that they throw our way. And it won’t matter, if we get out and vote. So it’s important to vote the entire slate, up and down.”

Laxalt said in a brief interview that he has been asked questions about his acceptance of election results literally “a hundred times, and so we’re going to get you a battery of statements. But of course I’ll accept a certified election.”

He also praised the Republican National Committee’s efforts to have poll watchers and resources on the ground in Clark County, the home of Las Vegas where Democrats traditionally run up big margins.

Laxalt was also joined Monday night by Kash Patel, a former Trump administration official who has reportedly appeared before a Washington, D.C., grand jury in connection with the investigation into classified documents recovered from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. Laxalt was to be joined Tuesday night by Donald Trump Jr.

Cortez Masto and Nevada Democratic Victory have had visitors to the state focused on both the Senate race, where the senator is No. 1 on Roll Call’s list of the 10 most vulnerable incumbents, and the three targeted House races in and around Clark County.

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., joined Cortez Masto, Gov. Steve Sisolak, Sen. Jacky Rosen and an array of Democratic candidates and officeholders at the AAPI block party.

Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., speaks during the Asian American Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus event at Shanghai Plaza in Las Vegas on Saturday, the first day of early voting in Nevada. In the background are Gov. Steve Sisolak, Rep. Steven Horsford, and Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, and Jacky Rosen, all D-Nev. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“I think that we just want to make sure that the candidates that we are electing or the incumbents that we are protecting are members that are [focused on] the needs of our AAPI community, especially after the last few years. Our community is literally the fastest growing community, whether it’s here in Nevada or across the country,” Meng said in an interview. “And so after these few years, we’ve literally had a target on our backs because of the incendiary words of leaders in the Republican Party. And so we want to make sure that we are electing and reelecting leaders who have always consistently stood up for our community.”

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