When Nevadans cast their ballots on Nov. 8, they will choose the successor to Sen. Harry Reid, the highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate. Reid has thrown his support behind former attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto, who is running against Rep. Joe Heck.
|Catherine Cortez Masto speaks at an event held at the Las Vegas Local 357 hall in August.
Reid has been a friend to labor unions and to his working family constituents throughout his tenure and voters can expect the same from Cortez Masto, said International Representative David Jones, also the state political coordinator.
“It will be hard to replace Harry in the Senate, but his confidence in Catherine Cortez Masto, along with the Nevada Democratic Party political machine that he built, gives the IBEW a chance to continue the fight with a friend of labor,” Jones said.
IBEW has endorsed Cortez Masto and staff will likely be assigned to her campaign closer to the early voting stage which begins Oct. 22, Jones said. As the race proceeds, IBEW will ramp up efforts to get members out to vote with registration drives, member education, candidate invitations to speak at union meetings and picnics, social media messaging, phone banking and door knocking, Jones said.
A day of action has been planned out of Reno, Nev., Local 401’s hall for Sept. 10. Additional days are scheduled for Sept. 22 and 23, and there will be a get-out-the-vote drive Nov. 5-8. The Nevada AFL-CIO has also begun walks for all endorsed candidates, which includes Cortez Masto, and working families are encouraged to participate.
Cortez Masto, who comes from a labor family, opposes fast tracking the TPP, a massive trade deal between the U.S. and 12 other Pacific-rim countries that would lower trade barriers and weaken labor protections. By allowing fast track, Congress is not able to offer any amendments to the trade agreement that covers a wide-ranging number of issues, and can only vote for or against it.
She also supports investments in renewable energy, protecting retirement security and equal pay for equal work.
"Our economy needs to work for everyone," said Cortez Masto at the Raising Wages Summit organized by the Nevada AFL-CIO in January.
Heck, conversely, has a 22 percent lifetime rating from the AFL-CIO. He voted in favor of the Republican budget that would cut investments in infrastructure and give tax breaks to millionaires and corporations with a history of moving U.S. jobs to cheaper labor markets outside the country. He also voted to allow the Department of Defense to contract with vendors who violate fair labor standards.
Additionally, he supports privatizing Social Security and has referred to it as a “pyramid scheme.” Heck also supports free trade and voted to fast-track authorization of the TPP.
On the government shutdown in 2013 that furloughed thousands of Nevadans, Heck appeared to dismiss half of his constituents.
"Fifty percent of the district is not going to be happy, does it matter?" he told the Las Vegas Sun.
Heck is part of the tea party wave that swept Congress in 2010 when he beat Dina Titus. Titus, a friend of working families, was elected to a different seat in 2012. The Senate race is considered a tossup by Roll Call, a publication focusing on U.S. politics and Capitol Hill. It’s also one of the races that could shift the balance of power to Democrats.
“From voting on important legislation to confirming Cabinet appointees and federal judges, the Senate matters,” said Fivethirtyeight.com, an online publication that focuses on data analysis. Fivethirtyeight also rates this race a tossup.
The Huffington Post’s Pollster, an analysis of various opinion polls, shows Heck up 39.9 percent to 37.8.