New York Times
By Dave Philipps
November 9, 2016
After a close race fueled by record outside spending, Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, won the Nevada Senate contest on Tuesday to become the first Latina senator. She defeated Representative Joe Heck to fill the seat of Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate. Outside groups spent nearly $90 million on the tight race, but the biggest factor might have been Donald J. Trump.
Ms. Cortez Masto, 52, a former Nevada attorney general and the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant, focused her campaign on immigration overhaul and future Supreme Court picks before the Senate. She capitalized on the extensive ground operation built by Hillary Clinton and energized Latinos by railing against Mr. Trump’s plan to build a border wall, while trying to pin Mr. Trump’s most controversial views on her opponent.
Mr. Heck, 55, a physician and Iraq war veteran, tried to emphasize a record of across-the-aisle compromise. But he was tripped up by Mr. Trump’s statements on immigration, veterans and women, observers said.
Mr. Heck started off critical of Mr. Trump during the primary contests, then threw his support behind him after his nomination, only to call in October for Mr. Trump to step down.
“He was doing a good job trying to thread the middle and not alienate the base until the whole Donald Trump thing,” said David Damore, a professor of political science at the University of Nevada. “Then it was like he couldn’t say anything right.”
Mr. Heck relied on the financial backing of groups outside the state — including money from the conservative activists Charles G. and David H. Koch.
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