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Las Vegas Review-Journal: Catherine Cortez Masto beats Joe Heck, claims Harry Reid’s US Senate seat

November 9, 2016

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Catherine Cortez Masto beats Joe Heck, claims Harry Reid’s US Senate seat

By Ben Botkin

Catherine Cortez Masto claimed victory late Tuesday night in Nevada’s U.S. Senate race for a successor to Harry Reid.

Cortez Masto, the Democratic candidate, garnered 520,658 votes or 47.07 percent of votes cast. Her Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, received 494,427 (44.7 percent).

The Associated Press called the race in her favor at 9:09 p.m.

The race between Heck and Cortez Masto, a former Nevada attorney general, has been one of the most competitive in the United States this election cycle.

The Senate seat was viewed as a potential pickup opportunity for Republicans hoping to maintain the GOP majority control of the Senate.

“I want you to know this isn’t my win. This is our win,” Cortez Masto said in a victory speech at the Aria, thanking her supporters.

Despite the win in Nevada, Democrats’ chances of retaking the Senate majority were slipping away as Republicans hung onto key seats in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida and Pennsylvania. They were also expected to hold seats in Louisiana and Alaska.

Democrats also grabbed a Republican-held seat in Illinois, but the outcome in Wisconsin was a surprise as both parties had expected it to flip for the Democrats. Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson’s victory over former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold forecast a grim night for the Democrats.

Outside groups and super PACs on both sides pumped millions of dollars into the Nevada race, bombarding voters with mailers, phone calls and door knocks through extensive ground game operations.

Heck, also a brigadier general in the Army Reserve and former emergency room physician, had cast himself as a candidate with a combination of valuable life experience and the ability to work with both sides of the aisle on issues in Washington, D.C.

Cortez Masto, who had Reid’s backing throughout the race, ran on a platform that focused on her record as attorney general for eight years and work that included pushing for legislation to fight sex trafficking.

It’s an outcome that marks the end of an era of Nevada’s political power structure. Reid, elected to his Senate seat three decades ago, rose to power to became the Senate majority leader when Democrats had the majority in the Senate.