Catherine Cortez Masto wins Nevada race against Adam Laxalt, cementing Democratic control of Senate

Ella Lee and Emilee Miranda

Democrats will retain control of the U.S. Senate after incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., prevailed in a nail-biting race against Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. 

The nation's first Latina senator, Cortez Masto was widely regarded as the Senate's most vulnerable incumbent Democrat, with national Republicans identifying her seat as the party's best chance to flip.

But with her seat secured, Democrats are guaranteed control of Congress' upper chamber no matter the outcome of a run-off race in Georgia between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote. 

Live election updates:Democrats will keep Senate after Cortez Masto defeats Laxalt in Nevada

OnPolitics newsletter:Fast and to the point, delivered to your inbox

Democrats poured resources into Nevada's Senate race at the 11th hour, including by sending one of their most persuasive surrogates, former President Barack Obama, to campaign there. In Nevada, Obama delivered the same key message he shared in other battleground states in the weeks before the election: "Democracy is on the ballot."

A former one-term state attorney general, Laxalt focused his campaign on inflation and the economy, placing the blame on Cortez Masto and President Joe Biden. Cortez Masto made reproductive health care central to her bid for a second term after the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade this summer. 

Nevada Senate race:Nevada's 2022 Senate race tests potency of abortion focus for Cortez Masto, Democrats

2022 Election Results:Follow key races in the 2022 midterm elections as they are decided

Money matters

With control of the Senate at stake, the race attracted huge amounts of cash.

Cortez Masto had raised $58.5 million and spent $48.3 million by mid-October, according to her latest report with the Federal Election Commission. Laxalt reported $15.8 million and spending $12.6 million in the same period.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks during a get-out-the-vote rally Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Las Vegas. Masto is running against Republican candidate Adam Laxalt. (AP Photo/John Locher) ORG XMIT: NVJL126

But the campaigns' fundraising was overshadowed by $126.5 million in outside spending, according to OpenSecrets.org, with much of that total coming in the form of opposition to one candidate or the other.