Obama to stump for Cortez Masto, Sisolak in Las Vegas ahead of Election Day
Former President Barack Obama will head to Las Vegas next month to campaign for Gov. Steve Sisolak and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto — two of the most vulnerable incumbent Democrats nationwide — just one week before Election Day, Nevada Democratic Victory announced Wednesday morning.
The visit, billed as an “early vote rally” on Nov. 1, also comes days before the close of Nevada’s early voting window on Nov. 4, and will feature “Democrats up and down the ballot.” Across multiple public polls, Nevada Democrats have struggled to match Republicans amid rocky economic conditions.
The former president's planned visit was first reported Wednesday morning by The Associated Press.
Nevada’s U.S. Senate race has, in particular, emerged as a key strategic contest for both parties, especially as Democratic candidates in other competitive states — notably Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania — have led general election polls.
If Nevada’s seat flips to Cortez Masto’s Republican opponent, former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the switch would likely give control of the Senate back to the GOP. In all but one poll taken since Labor Day, Cortez Masto has trailed Laxalt, though the race remains within the margin of error.
In the race for governor, Sisolak has remained neck-and-neck with his Republican challenger, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, in a contest defined in large part on national issues, including the economy and access to abortion, in addition to local concerns such as crime.
Democrats have so far been reluctant to campaign on the image of President Joe Biden, whose approval rating — while increasing through the summer — still remains underwater.
Republican candidates in Nevada, in contrast, have embraced the face of their party, as former President Donald Trump has visited the state twice since July, with a focus on stumping for top-of-the-ticket Republicans — Laxalt and Lombardo.
During Trump’s second visit, a campaign event in rural Minden, he also showered support on down-ticket Republicans, including candidates for secretary of state and the U.S. House.
Biden has not traveled to Nevada this year, making Obama’s Las Vegas trip the highest-profile campaign visit for Nevada Democrats this election cycle.
Vice President Kamala Harris has visited Las Vegas twice since taking office, though both have been used to tout legislative accomplishments and successes of the Biden administration.
During her most recent trip in August — conducted as part of a victory tour in the wake of congressional passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Democrats’ major spending package — only Rep. Steven Horsford, a Democrat from Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, appeared alongside Harris.
The announcement of Obama’s visit came shortly after Sisolak shared an endorsement from the former president.
“While some folks are trying to roll back voting rights and a woman’s right to choose, Steve has protected them in Nevada,” Obama said in the minute-long ad. “Steve Sisolak has been there for you, and now, you need to be there for him.”
Previously, Obama campaigned for Democratic tickets with rallies in Las Vegas ahead of both the 2016 and 2018 general elections.
Updated: 10/19/22 at 10:16 a.m. - This story was updated to note that Obama's planned visit was first reported by The Associated Press.