Republican Rep. Joe Heck and Democratic former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto will face each this November in the Nevada Senate race, a marquee showdown in a state Republicans count as their best pickup opportunity of 2016.
As expected, Heck and Cortez Masto each won their respective primaries with ease Tuesday. Cortez Masto had more than 80 percent of the vote with more than 10 percent of precincts counted, according to the Associated Press.
Heck, meanwhile, had won 69 percent of the vote with 10 percent precincts reporting.
Both candidates are trying to replace retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who is retiring after five terms in office.
Heck received a late scare when Sharron Angle, who won the party’s 2010 Senate nomination, in March surprisingly filed to become a candidate . Leading Republican strategists blame Angle for losing the race to Reid six years ago, and some of them were initially worried she could thwart Heck’s bid by attracting the support of conservative activists.
But from the beginning, her candidacy struggled to gain traction. With 10 percent reporting, Angle had received only 19 percent of the vote.
Many Republicans consider Heck — a doctor and brigadier general in the Army Reserves —the party’s best Senate recruit, in part because he thrice won a battleground House district that includes many of the Las Vegas suburbs. But Donald Trump’s presence atop the ticket severely complicates his campaign , especially with the state’s numerous Latino voters.
Cortez Masto, meanwhile, is trying to become the first Latina to serve in the Senate. The attorney general has the support of Reid, including many members the Senate leader’s vaunted political operation.