Why Las Vegas Could Decide Who Wins the Midterm Elections

Las Vegas is known for its casinos and performances, but it’s also a political hotspot. In fact, whoever wins in Las Vegas could end up being who controls the US Senate.

The race for governor and the race for Senate are very tight. They are largely considered a “toss up” in Nevada and Las Vegas, where both parties have strong pockets of support.

In particular, the contest between incumbent Democrat Senator Catherine Masto and Republican hopeful Adam Laxalt is shaping up to be a defining race.

The Battle for Vegas

On the governor side, Nevada’s Steve Sisolak is in big trouble and stands a good chance of losing to Joe Lombardo for the GOP. Lombardo is running a grassroots campaign and showing up Sisolak as a detached elite who hasn’t actually improved anyone’s life.

When it comes to the Senate, both Masto and Laxalt have their own bases of support in Las Vegas and around the state. Masto is emphasizing herself as a champion of the working class, trying to paint the GOP and Laxalt as “extremists” and conspiracy theorists.

As early voting already kicked off, Nevada is a toss up that could go either way. Democrats are going to have to get every single voter they can to the polls in Las Vegas if they want to win Nevada.

The state outside of Las Vegas leans very much toward the GOP. If not enough of the Democrat base and union-supported groups get out to vote in Las Vegas, then it’s likely Republicans could take both the governorship and snatch the Senate seat from Masto.

How is Early Voting Going?

This past weekend, early voting started already in Vegas; there was also the start of mail voting. There have been about 30,000 votes cast so far, which is not many, at this point.

Democrats tend to dominate with mail ins; although many independent voters exist in Las Vegas as well.

Masto may be the incumbent and banking on her identity as the first Latina senator from there, but she has a serious challenge in Laxalt. He’s known for formerly serving as AG of Nevada and being from a political dynasty family in the state.

Laxalt is backed strongly by Trump and sided with him that the 2020 election was rigged.

Nonetheless, Laxalt has to take the challenge from Masto very seriously as well. Las Vegas and its 1.3 million voters are heavily working class and are prone to the pro-worker messaging from Masto.

This is also a bit of a vicious cycle, since inflation is also driving down tourism and making job security worse for workers in Vegas who were already slammed by the pandemic and the lockdowns.

The Bottom Line

During the pandemic’s height, the unemployment in Nevada hit 28%. Laxalt needs to double down on a pro-worker, America First message if he wants to win this race and help be part of the red wave that takes control of the Senate.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.