Poll Shows Dem Senate Majority Might Crap Out In Nevada

Democrats have rightly focused on holding recently flipped Senate seats in Arizona and Georgia this year. However, Senate control might also depend on what happens in Nevada. Incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is in trouble — not just in River City but the whole damn state.

Suffolk University/Reno Gazette Journal released a poll Tuesday that shows Cortez Masto losing in head-to-head matches against Republicans Adam Laxalt and Sam Brown, both of whom she’s outspending on the campaign trail. This is one of her recent ads. As Rebecca might say, it’s ... fine.


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According to the Reno Gazette Journal, Nevada voters are in a sour mood over rising gas prices and inflation. The corresponding “vote the bums out" impulse isn’t great news for incumbent Democrats Cortez Masto and Gov. Steve Sisolak. President Joe Biden’s approval rating in the state he carried with 50 percent of the vote has plunged to a bleak 35 percent. That’s six percent less than his current nationwide approval.

Nevada has a significant Hispanic population, and Biden has struggled with the demographic since the primaries, when some of us raised it as a concern and were told to shut up about it. On the upside, Biden is still narrowly — like a single point — ahead of Trump in the same poll, but that won’t matter much in 2024 if the new Republican governor and senator refuse to accept a Biden victory.

Let’s take a look at the GOP candidates who might personally hand Senate control back to Mitch McConnell.

Brown, a U.S. Army veteran and newcomer on the Nevada campaign scene, topped Cortez Masto by less than 1 percentage point. Laxalt, Nevada’s former attorney general, was favored by a roughly 3 percent margin. Both are within the poll's margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Sam Brown served honorably in Afghanistan, where he almost died when his platoon was ambushed while on a humanitarian mission. He lost one of his fingers in an explosion and suffered severe burns all over his face and body that permanently altered his appearance. Despite facing years of painful recovery, he still wanted to return to Afghanistan.

"That was my mentality," he said. "(My belief was) they are going to take me home, I'll get bandaged up and I'll come back and join my soldiers. So for the next few months, I told the doctors, 'Hey, let me get through rehab as fast as I can. I'm going to be going back and be with my soldiers."

I’ll be blunt here: Cortez Masto really needs Laxalt to win the GOP primary. Yes, he’s ahead of her in the polls right now, but Brown has proven a formidable fundraiser and is building considerable momentum.

Adam Laxalt is Nevada’s former attorney general and a failed 2018 candidate for governor. He served far less than honorably as state co-chair of Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. He’s been described as the “proud face of the Big Lie in Nevada.” Laxalt wrote an op-ed for the Review-Journal in November 2020 that claimed without evidence the existence of "thousands of illegal votes consisting of a combination of dead voters, out-of-state voters, double voters (those who cast ballots in Nevada and another state), among other improper votes.”

There’s no reason to believe that Sam Brown, who’s voluntarily a Republican, is any less a MAGA stooge, but Cortez Masto at least has the receipts on Laxalt, who oozes smarm.

Cortez Masto holds the late Harry Reid’s seat, and we’re sure Mitch McConnell would laugh maniacally if Republicans seized it. He boasted Tuesday that the political environment for Republicans is “better than it was in 1994,” and “from an atmospheric point of view, it’s a perfect storm of problems for the Democrat.” That’s how psychopaths describe Americans struggling to fill their gas tanks or feed their families. He relishes their suffering because it'll gain him more power than Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema already provided him.

McConnell did acknowledge an escape clause in the GOP curse: Republicans could sabotage their victory with jacklegged candidates, but The Nevada Independent’s Jon Ralston warns that “a red wave is building that could carry a weak slate of GOP candidates to wins.”

Now I need to go rest my head.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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