It’s getting to be a habit. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is running for her first-ever re-election. The structural dynamics of the race are challenging—the president’s party always struggles in off-year elections. That’s especially true when the president holds a -13 approval rating (53.8% disapprove and 41% approve, according to the Real Clear Politics poll of polls). And even more so in a state where that number is -22, as it is in Nevada, where Civiqs says that 57% disapprove of the president vs. 35% who approve.
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Democratic firm Blueprint Polling says that the leading GOP Senate candidate, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, leads Cortez Masto by 7 points in a potential matchup. And the editor of the respected Cook Political Report calls Cortez Masto “the #1 endangered Democratic incumbent” in the country.
Against this backdrop one might think Cortez Masto would be eager to communicate with Nevada voters. One would be wrong.
Since its inception in September, the Nevada Globe has written countless articles that mention Senator Cortez Masto. Each time, we email her office, including several different names and whoever we can find on her publicly available materials. We never hear back.
I’ve been doing journalism for a long time. I’ve also done a lot of politics. I have never experienced a candidate whose office was this unwilling to communicate. Past solicitations haven’t even been given the courtesy of a “no comment.” The one time I reached a human being in a Cortez Masto constituent office on the phone, I was promised a reply. That never came. The Nevada Globe’s editor, Megan Barth, has fared no better.
As I told Cortez Masto’s staff in my most recent message—sent yesterday at 2:53 pm—The Nevada Globe is “eager to interview the Senator and feel that it would of course be in her interest to speak to our Nevada readership, which is fast-growing and politically engaged.”
But it’s not just us.
On Friday, the New York Times ran a deeply reported story about Nevada by Jennifer Medina and Reid J. Epstein called “Democrats Worry That What Happens in Nevada Won’t Stay in Nevada.” The premise was, as the subhead related, “As the state’s economy struggles, it has become the epitome of the party’s midterm difficulties.”
The 1500-word story quoted the Vito Corleone of Nevada politics, Jon Ralston, at length. Ralston compared Cortez Masto to her mentor Harry Reid, saying “She is kind of an exaggerated version of him in many ways.” Elsewhere it quoted two ordinary voters and said they “could not name Nevada’s incumbent senator up for re-election.”
One would think the Cortez Masto press team would be dying to get the Senator on the phone to discuss all the great things she’s done in the last six years for people just like the two working-class voters the Times quoted.
Again, one would be wrong.
“Ms. Cortez Masto declined to be interviewed.”
In lieu of speaking to the Paper of Record, campaign spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank gave the Times a rather anodyne statement, “No state was hit harder than Nevada, and we’re recovering quickly because Catherine fought to get the relief our hospitality industry needed, supporting the tens of thousands of workers who rely on our tourism economy.”
In past inquiries, The Nevada Globe hasn’t even gotten the benefit of the spokesman statement. Just no answer.
Same with recent stories in The Nevada Current and Silver State Times.
The Nevada Globe is committed to telling all sides of the story. We have heard the chatter from those who consider us “right-leaning”. We reject that characterization, but are proud that even the decidedly left-leaning journalism watchdog site NewsGuard gave us high marks in its self-appointed review.
So what’s going on here?
We are living in an age when it’s fashionable to attack any organization that presents a viewpoint with which one disagrees. But this news site is committed to doing our best to bring multiple perspectives. We cannot force Cortez Masto to speak to us. If she’s not interested in reaching our growing readership, that’s her decision. But we will continue to ask.
On Monday afternoon, the Globe emailed three different people, including Mr. Marcus-Blank, to inquire whether the senator would care to comment for this story about her reluctance to comment. As of this morning, we have received no reply.
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