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Cortez Masto Defeats Laxalt in Nevada, Handing Democrats Control of the Senate

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the Senate, will hold onto her seat in Nevada after enduring a bruising campaign against Republican Adam Laxalt, who fell short of ousting the Democrat despite severe midterm headwinds, NBC News projects.

The outcome follows days of protracted mail-in ballot counting, with the results resting largely with the state’s most populous county, Clark County, which posted updates once a day since Tuesday. A race long predicted to be within the margin of error was indeed close through the end.

“Thank you, Nevada!” Cortez Mastro tweeted Saturday evening shortly after NBC News and other outlets projected her win.

Latino voters here helped power the results after both candidates invested heavily in courting them. Latinos were expected to make up 1 in 5 midterm voters, but the NBC News Exit Poll in the state suggests those expectations fell short, with Latinos making up just 12 percent of Nevada voters. Last month, both parties saw signs of a disaffected electorate that threatened to stay home.

The NBC News Exit Poll also showed that those who did turn out stood by her. Despite predictions from her opponent that she’d struggle with Latinos, 62 percent said they voted for Cortez Masto and 33 percent backed Laxalt, according to the NBC News Exit Poll.

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