I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. On election night incumbent freshman Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto trailed GOP Trumptard by more than 24,000 votes. I wasn’t worried. After all, Laxalt is so slimy that slugs pour salt on him. But I was still confident for one simple reason, after 20 years, I know Nevada politics and its voting patterns.
A brief overlay. When it comes to Nevada voting, you can put the voting patterns into 3 buckets. There’s the Clark County vote, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. Then there’s Washoe County, the 2nd most populous county in Nevada, home of Reno and the University of Nevada. This leans Democratic, but is closer than Clark county. And then there’s the rest of Nevada, the cow counties, which lean overwhelmingly GOP. And there lies the problem.
Nevada just instituted a new voting system, universal mail in balloting. About 5 weeks before election day, the state mailed out mail in ballots to every registered voter in Nevada. We had 3 choices. Fill out the ballot and drop it in the mail, fill out the ballot and drop it in a secured ballot box, or at a registered polling place, or show up and vote in person. Teri and I chose the latter, and voted at the Galleria Mall in Henderson the Monday after early voting opened. But it changed the paradigm of vote counting in Nevada.
True, Laxalt had significant lead of about 24,000 votes on election night. But mail in ballots would be counted as long as they were postmarked by election day, and received by Saturday. And here’s what binds the cheese.
By Wednesday night, all of the election day in person votes in Nevada had been tabulated. Which means that Laxalt’s vote tally was the best it was ever going to get. And his lead had already shrunk to just over 20,000 votes, with mail in ballots in oodles left to come from Washoe and Clark counties, both of which heavily favored Cortez-Masto.
Vut the GOP still had a prayer. Because in both Clark and Washoe counties, there were a significant number of election ay mail in ballots dropped off at drop boxes as well as polling places. And in the era of Trump, with the disdain for mail in ballots, voting day ballots tended to heavily favor the GOP. If Laxalt could clean up on those, then he might survive Cortez-Masto’s surge in uncounted mail in ballots.
But here comes the Z-factor, and quite possible Cortez-Masto’s reelection salvation. The Culinary Workers Union. They have 60,000 ebers, and are the ultimate force in Clark county Democratic politics. And in the weekend before election day, including Monday, they hit the bricks in massive numbers to turn out the Democratic vote. And every vote counts in Nevada.
But most critical, they were once again out in force on election cay. And while they were out banging on doors to turn out the vote, they most likely turned the tide. Because one of the things they did was to pick up completed mail in ballots that hadn’t been mailed in, and then putting them into secured drop boxes, or dropping them off at local polling places.
And in doing so, they likely turned the tide of the election. The GOP was putting all of their eggs into the election day drop off votes to put them over the top. But instead, the Culinary Workers Union literally flooded the drop boxes with Democratic friendly votes, likely negating any hope the GOP had. The results have already started coming in, and they’re terrible for Laxalt. In a 10,000 vote dump from Washoe county tonight, not only didn’t Cortez-Masto lose votes to Laxalt, she actually gained votes. And in a Clark county vote dump of some 24,000 votes, she trimmed Laxalt’s lead to under 800 votes. And there’s another 10,000 vite dump due tomorrow from Washoe county, along with another 24,000 coming from Clark county.
And if the present voting precedent holds true, and if Cortez-Masto continues the way she has, then she will vault past Laxalt, and build a durable lead of more than 14,000 votes. Which will leave only a uncured vote and provisional ballot total of about 7,500 hundred votes, both of which heavily favor Democrats. Laxalt has no out. If the vote dumps from Washoe county and Clark county follow precedent, we may have an official call tomorrow night from Nevada. And the Democrats will cement their control of the Senate, regardless of what happens in Georgia.
But if precedent holds true, and Catherine Cortez-Masto pulls off the upset, she’ll have the Culinary Workers Union to thank for her come-from-behind victory. But more importantly, it represents a victory for the Democrats’ most potent weapon going into 2024, a strong grassroots organization to hit the bricks at crunch time and bring home the bacon. Things just keep looking better and better.