U.S. Senate Endorsements
The Stakes: In one of the most closely watched elections of the 2022 election cycle, Republicans are looking to capture a majority in the U.S. Senate by unseating current Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. The current makeup of the U.S. Senate is split 50-50 along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.
The Senate has the power to approve treaties and confirm cabinet secretaries, ambassadors and federal judges, but its most important power is its ability to pass federal laws. With Republicans all but promising to pass regressive policies that roll back civil rights, maintaining control of the Senate is essential if Democrats are to prevent a nationwide ban on abortions and same-sex marriage and protect women’s rights and other basic freedoms. Voters of Nevada should take note: The entire nation might depend on whether we show up to the polls.
Catherine Cortez Masto (Incumbent) — ✓ Endorsed
Like her predecessor, Harry Reid, Catherine Cortez Masto brings a rare educational one-two punch to legislating, holding degrees in both finance and law. When combined with multiple years as a prosecutor, executive vice chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, Nevada Attorney General and now six years as a U.S. Senator, she is unquestionably among the most qualified candidates in Nevada history.
As a first-term Senator, she was incredibly productive—success she attributes to listening, being patient and “having everything I do be informed by Nevadans.” That collaborative attitude has also earned her a rare combination of endorsements that include everyone from national environmental groups and social- and economic-justice organizations to the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers and Professional Firefighters of Nevada.
In our interview with her, we were particularly impressed by her discussion of criminal justice. As a former prosecutor, she was unapologetic in her tough-on-crime stance that “there is a criminal element that will prey on people.” Yet she also spoke about treating people with dignity and compassion and the need for community policing that does a better job of meeting people’s needs.
During her first term, Nevada’s first Latina Senator demonstrated that she can be trusted to translate words into actions. One example: when advocated for resources and funding to help secure the border and protect border patrol agents, while simultaneously advocating for treating undocumented immigrants who are already in the United States with dignity and respect—valuing the important contributions they make to our culture and economy.
With control of the Senate likely determining the future of civil rights and liberties in the U.S., every Senate seat matters. That’s reason enough to support Cortez Masto. As is the fact that her opponent is a dangerous conspiracy theorist who has openly stated that the will of the people of Nevada is irrelevant to him.
Add to all of those negative reasons the fact that Cortez Masto was a powerful and highly effective force advocating for Nevada in her first term, and there can be no question that she richly deserves a second term.
Adam Laxalt is a case study in the dangerous evolution of the Republican party.
His grandfather, former Nevada Governor and U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt, was a Republican known for working across the aisle to build coalitions and identify compromises. He negotiated several key bills and appointments with then-Senator Joe Biden, was a champion of public education and even led the charge to purge John Birch Society extremists from the Republican Party.
Unfortunately for Nevada, Adam Laxalt is not his grandfather. He declined to participate in our endorsement process and has instead invested in actively courting support from the most extreme elements of American politics. His website proudly displays endorsements from deep state conspiracy theorists like radio host Mark Levin, who repeatedly asserted that Barack Obama was a terrorist member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Setting aside the legacy of his grandfather and his supporters, Laxalt has demonstrated that he is an extremist with a clear disregard for the interests of anyone but himself. The former co-chair of Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, Laxalt has repeatedly made unfounded conspiratorial claims of large-scale voter fraud and election denialism and has actively opposed attempts to expand access to voting by legal U.S. citizens.
His selfish disregard for the welfare of others is also on display in his economic policies. When asked about Latino-owned small businesses that had yet to reopen after the pandemic, Laxalt took the opportunity to score political points by saying it was good that those businesses hadn’t reopened, because people would blame Democrats. In a similarly disturbing statement, Laxalt acknowledged that President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would create new jobs in Nevada but said it was bad because those jobs “would compete directly with certain Nevada businesses who already can’t find workers.” In his very next sentence, Laxalt then blamed Democrats for “the worst unemployment of any state in the nation.”
In short, Laxalt is a dangerous, nonsensical conspiracy theorist who cares about nothing other than his own personal power and political ambitions. He must be rejected.
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 1 ENDORSEMENTS
The Stakes: In addition to introducing and passing laws, the House also holds the “power of the purse,” giving it significant authority over the budget process for funding government functions and programs. The House may also hold hearings and perform oversight functions of the executive branch. The other half of the federal legislature, the House is intended to serve as the voice of the people.
Dina Titus (Incumbent) — ✓ Endorsed
With 30 years of legislative service to her name, Dina Titus has a proven track record as a pragmatic leader who gets things done for Nevadans. She is also among the most visible and accessible of all Congressional representatives, traveling back to Southern Nevada almost every weekend to meet with constituents and support small businesses and events in her district.
As a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and chairwoman of the subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, Titus is well-positioned to ensure the future economic growth of Nevada and to help ensure Nevada is fairly represented in negotiations around the looming water crisis and in large transportation infrastructure projects. The subcommittee oversees many federal real estate and economic development programs, an especially important position in a state in which 63% of the land is owned by the federal government.
Titus is also a member of the powerful Committee on Foreign Affairs, and she impressed us with her detailed policy proposals related to immigration. Titus discussed a nuanced plan for overhauling the current immigration systems. Her proposals include significant investments in border security including investments in high-tech solutions like drones and large-scale vehicle X-ray machines. Those security upgrades would be combined with an overhaul of the legal immigration, best summarized by her statement that, “Folks shouldn’t be left for years without knowing their immigration status.”
In short, Titus is a veteran legislator with a proven track record of getting things done and serving the interests of Nevadans. Simultaneously, she is an active and prolific member of our own communities who is deeply connected to the local people, businesses and organizations that drive Nevada’s diverse culture and economy. Far from the stereotypical trope of a disconnected career politician, Titus shows us the best of what can happen when a legislator combines passion and connection to their community with an insider’s knowledge of the Capitol. We believe she will continue to deliver for the people of Nevada, and we endorse her in the strongest possible terms.
One of the few Republicans to respond to our invitation to be interviewed for an endorsement, Mark Robertson is a 30-year veteran of the United States armed forces who gave us some hope that the Republican party might someday return to legitimacy.
While his positions on issues like same-sex marriage (he calls it a state’s rights issue), voting rights (he wants to eliminate universal mail ballots), K-12 education (he supports vouchers) and banning high-capacity magazines (he’s against a ban) were disqualifying to us in terms of an endorsement, we found his demeanor, knowledge and moderation refreshing.
During the course of our interview he acknowledged that the broken U.S. budget system is the fault of both parties, said there is wasteful spending in the Department of Defense and offered kudos to former President Barack Obama for making real attempts at comprehensive immigration reform.
We also thought his proposal to increase training requirements for gun buyers under the age of 21 was a novel approach.
If the Republican Party is to find its way back to mainstream conservative thinking, people like Robertson can lead the way. While using some MAGA-like language, he is clearly not a MAGA Republican. We wish he would assume the mantle of the Nevada Republican Party and replace the wild extremists now there.
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 3 ENDORSEMENTS
Susie Lee (Incumbent) — ✓ Endorsed
Despite being the junior member of Nevada’s congressional delegation, Susie Lee has already established herself as an expert and fierce advocate for children, schools, education and safer and healthier communities.
As a member of the Problem Solvers caucus (along with Congressman Steven Horsford), Lee has built strong relationships across the aisle and was rated the 10th most bipartisan legislator among the House’s 435 members, according to the Lugar Center and McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. The Problem Solvers are a bipartisan group of legislators with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans who meet every week to find common ground on legislation.
Not surprisingly, Lee’s most nuanced proposals were in the field of education, where she discussed the need to increase transparency in the student lending system, decrease predatory interest rates, increase Pell Grant access, enforce fiduciary responsibilities of for-profit lenders and pass legislation that addresses the sources of runaway student debt rather than providing temporary treatments for the symptoms. We believe that each of these proposals will help bring opportunities for prosperity to Nevada families.
She also provided the most detailed policy proposals for addressing the Southwest’s looming water crisis, including proposed legislation to gather more accurate data on water usage and water reclamation and proposals to provide support for farmers transitioning to less water-intensive crops. More than anything, however, she understood the urgency of the problem, saying, “Water rights are only important if you have water.”
In other words, despite being the newest member of Nevada’s Congressional delegation and one of the newest among all legislators in the Southwest, Lee is, we believe, leaps and bounds ahead of many of her colleagues in understanding the real issues facing Nevadans. She recognizes the transformational power of education and the need to fix Nevada’s broken education system. She recognizes the urgency of the climate change crisis and its subsequent impact on water, power, agriculture and the 40 million people who rely on the Colorado River for their livelihood. And she has clear and achievable plans for addressing it.
Add to her qualifications that she is not a conspiratorial election denier trying to destroy democracy like her opponent, and it’s clear that Lee is the right choice for Nevada and deserves another term.
Like Adam Laxalt, April Becker is an election-denying conspiracy theorist who lies by omission, hiding her stances on issues that are important to Nevadans by simply refusing to discuss the details.
This helps explain why she was the only Southern Nevada Congressional candidate of either party who didn’t respond to our invitation for an endorsement interview.
A judge tossed out her lawsuit demanding a redo of her failed 2020 State Senate run, and multiple judges have dismissed multiple cases Becker supported alleging fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Becker has refused to answer any questions or provide any details whatsoever about fraud she alleges was so massive as to change the outcome of the elections.
As you might expect, Becker didn’t challenge the results of the 2022 primary that she won, suggesting that in her mind, voter fraud only exists when she doesn’t like the results.
Put into context, her position should frighten all of us. A candidate for U.S. Congress is promoting several bald-faced lies that seek to discredit the legitimacy of the President of the United States and the legitimacy of elections in the United States more generally. She is essentially arguing that her party and her supporters should be the assumed winners of all elections and that any race that they lose must be fraudulent. And she’s doing it without any evidence whatsoever.
In short, Becker is unfit to hold public office at any level, let alone as a member of the United States House of Representatives.
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 4 ENDORSEMENTS
Steven Horsford (Incumbent) — ✓ Endorsed
With more than a decade of combined service in Congress and the Nevada State Senate, Steven Horsford has proven himself a strong advocate for Nevada families, seeking to provide long-term stability and prosperity to meet people’s needs and reduce reliance on short-term assistance programs.
In the most recent term, Horsford secured more than $820 million for the people of Nevada and helped thousands of constituents get access to affordable health care, lower prescription costs and job training programs. He also introduced legislation to rein in the cost of housing and increase grants to states to produce and preserve affordable housing for low-income households.
Most impressively, he has passed much of his legislation with bipartisan support, using his position on the Problem Solver’s caucus to build coalitions and deliver for Nevadans of all backgrounds and political stripes. The Problem Solvers are a bipartisan group of legislators with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans who meet every week to find common ground on legislation.
In our interview, we were particularly impressed by Horsford’s intentionality in including rural and underserved communities in his legislative proposals, and his understanding that, as he said, “People need to see hope.”
As a former small business owner and former CEO of the Culinary Training Academy, Horsford has a unique perspective on the economy of Southern Nevada and its reliance on small business owners and service and hospitality workers. Congressman Horsford is working to expand federal support for small businesses and create new pathways to entrepreneurship.
That unique perspective is perhaps what motivated what we found to be the most novel and potentially transformative policy proposal among all of the candidates we interviewed: legislation to make Pell Grants available to students in non-degree skills training and trade programs.
In short, Horsford is the type of legislator Americans talk about wanting more of. He’s a true working-class legislator with a deep personal understanding of both the struggles of the middle class and the importance of supporting a strong middle-class. He has repeatedly delivered for Nevada and deserves the opportunity to continue doing so.
Of all the Republicans we have spoken to during this election cycle, Sam Peters is perhaps the most unapologetic cheerleader of Donald Trump’s scorched-earth model of America First governance and the QAnon conspiracies that come with it.
During his one-hour interview, he danced around issues of election denialism, distorted facts about legislative proposals, historic events and foreign aid packages that were endorsed by his own party leadership. He also refused to provide any details of his plans to significantly overhaul the U.S. immigration system outside of “securing the border” and “stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.”
When pressed on how to handle people already in the country, such as DACA recipients, Peters engaged in the most blatant examples of avoiding the question of any candidate we interviewed. We came away with the distinct impression that Peters would do everything in his power to remove undocumented people from the country even if they were educated, productive, contributing members of society with no criminal record, and even if the U.S. was the only home they had ever known.
While we appreciate Peters’ willingness to engage in the endorsement process, he didn’t answer any of our questions in a detailed or meaningful way. Even when he attempted to answer questions thoughtfully, he lacked specific knowledge and detail to provide a meaningful answer. As a result, he spent much of the interview making unfounded partisan attacks and accusations and promoting conspiracy. Put simply, he is an extremist, and we oppose his candidacy in the strongest possible terms.
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