From The Washington Post: A ‘Silver Lining’ on Election Night – First Latina Elected to U.S. Senate
Samantha Schmidt, The Washington Post, Nov 9, 2016
In the midst of disappointment for some Latinos nationwide on election night, some found a silver lining: For the first time, a Latina was elected to serve in the U.S. Senate.
With the backing of outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), former Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto won a Senate race on Tuesday, defeating Rep. Joseph J. Heck (R-Nev.) in a close fight.
With a collective, bittersweet sigh, supporters and fellow Latinos in Nevada and nationwide praised Cortez Masto’s win on social media, calling it “the tiniest speck of light,” and a “silver lining,” and tweeting that “we couldn’t elect the first female president, but we did elect the first Latina senator.”
Cortez Masto, whose grandfather immigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, will increase the number of Latinos in the Senate from three to four, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who retained his seat Tuesday, and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
In two other notable Latino gains in Congress, Darren Soto, a Democrat, became the first Puerto Rican to represent Florida in the House of Representatives and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) was elected the first Dominican American to Congress.
After the results came in, Cortez Masto tweeted, “I’m proud to be Nevada’s 1st female and our nation’s 1st Latina senator. It’s about time our government mirrors the diversity of our nation.”
Cortez Masto served two terms as Nevada’s chief law enforcement officer, helping pass laws to combat the manufacturing of methamphetamine. She weathered a tight Senate race against Heck, a physician and a brigadier general in the Army Reserve, who focused his attacks less on Cortez Masto and more on casting a retiring Reid as a villain who chose his puppet to succeed him, The Washington Post’s Paul Kane wrote.
In addition to receiving Reid’s backing, Cortez Masto received support from President Obama, Vice President Biden, first lady Michelle Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Obama praised her work as a prosecutor, working across party lines and with law enforcement.
In the final days of the campaign, Cortez Masto’s strategy was to link her Republican opponent to Donald Trump. Heck broke ties with Trump last month after a 2005 video was published by The Washington Post showing Trump bragging about kissing and groping women without consent.
In her victory speech in Nevada, Cortez Masto noted the bittersweet mood across the nation, as Trump’s projected presidential win was about to be announced. Cortez Masto said that if Trump becomes president, “I will promise you this, I will be one hell of a check and balance on him.”
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