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Cook Political Report shifts Nevada Senate race toward Republicans

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The nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report announced Wednesday that it’s shifting its rating of the Nevada Senate race from “lean Democrat” to “toss up.” 

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) is likely to go against retired Army Capt. Sam Brown (R) in November. Brown has several primary challengers in the race, though Senate Republicans have sought to coalesce around the Army veteran this cycle.  

Meanwhile, Rosen is running for a second term in office, beating former Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) in 2018.  

Jessica Taylor, the Senate and governors editor for Cook Political Report, wrote in an analysis that the election handicapper was changing the rating of Rosen’s seat for several reasons: it’s perpetually transient population that requires candidates to reintroduce themselves to voters, President Biden’s performance trailing Donald Trump in state polling, and a “unique post-COVID economic hangover.” 

“The Nevada shift may be a bit surprising. After all, it’s the only one of the swing states Democrats carried in both 2016 and 2020 at the presidential level, and Republicans haven’t won a statewide federal race here since 2012. And of the quartet now in Toss Up, it is still probably the toughest,” Taylor wrote. 

“But remember that the 2022 Senate race was the closest in the country, with Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto prevailing by just under 8,000 votes over former Republican state Attorney General Adam Laxalt — or around three quarters of a point.” 

Taylor noted that while Rosen has a cash on hand advantage against Brown, polling has not only shown a tight race between the two Senate candidates but also Biden trailing Trump in the Silver State. Candidates running in swing states like Nevada are almost expected to outrun the top of the ticket.  

The Cook Political Report editor noted that Republicans have said that the late Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) voting turnout operation is still strong. The Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas has particularly played a key role in voter turnout among Democrats.