Editor’s Note: This post was written by Taylor Green and Noah-Joseph Morse.
We believe that Democratic candidate Catherine Cortez Masto will win the 2016 Nevada Senate election with 47% of the vote over Republican candidate, Joe Heck, who we project to take 44% of the vote with the remainder going to third-party candidates. This prediction is largely based on incumbent Senator Harry Reid’s support of Cortez Masto, Heck’s public revocation of his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and the Latino vote within the state.
Harry Reid has been serving as a Nevada senator since 1987, which is longer than anyone in the state’s history. Reid plays a crucial role in the outcome of this election and has been established as a strong Democratic authority within the state. He calls Cortez Masto “my candidate” and has been a big supporter of her campaign. Reid has been working for over a decade to build the state party apparatus, however, it experienced a downturn during the 2014 midterm election in which Republicans “swept state offices and knocked out a bench of rising Democratic stars.” Registered Democrats still outnumber Republicans in the state, but not by as wide a margin as they did in previous presidential elections.There is no doubt that Reid’s support is allowing Cortez Masto to gain popularity among the people.
After the “Access Hollywood” video of Trump from 2005 was released, Heck renounced his endorsement of the presidential candidate. At a campaign rally, he stated, “My hope is that this will not divide us and that we can unite behind principles, Republican principles.” Cortez Masto later called Heck out at a debate, claiming that his decision was not morally based but that Heck was instead “worried about his political career” and Donald Trump’s “sinking ship.” There is no way to tell what Heck’s true motives were, however, we believe that this decision will cost him many of the Republican votes he was counting on. Even though Heck is no longer technically tied to Trump, Cortez Masto is using the presidential candidate’s behavior and rhetoric as a means to villainize the Republican party and all those affiliated with it.
According to some political pundits, people don’t think Cortez Masto can win because they are underestimating the value of the Latino vote. Generally, the Democratic candidate sweeps the Latino vote, or at least gets a fair margin of the Latino vote. With Cortez Masto being able to garner support in Latino communities, she has this part in the bag. Heck, on the other, has not been able to rally his campaign to address the Latino community, thus he will not get enough support from the community to substantially make a difference in the upcoming election. Latinos are expected to come out in strong force this November and the Democrats are expected to carry that vote. It’s predicted that Clinton and Cortez Masto will be able to win Nevada because of the Latino vote. This is one of the biggest reasons why we think Cortez Masto will win Nevada.
All in all, what it will come down to this November in Nevada’s Senate race is what type of people vote and where they stand on the partisan line. We believe that Cortez Masto has done enough leading up to the election that she should win over Heck with 47% of the vote, and allow the Democrats to win a crucial race in their efforts to retake the Senate.