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Cortez Masto withdraws from Biden VP consideration to focus on Nevada

Updated May 28, 2020 - 5:37 pm

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto has withdrawn her name for consideration as former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential election, she announced Thursday.

“I support Joe Biden 100 percent and will work tirelessly to help get him elected this November,” Cortez Masto said in a statement. “It is an honor to be considered as a potential running mate, but I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration.”

She continued: “Nevada’s economy is one of the hardest hit by the current crisis and I will continue to focus on getting Nevadans the support they need to get on back on their feet.”

Nevada’s senior senator was widely rumored to be on a shortlist that includes fellow U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, and Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, and Kamala Harris, of California, as well as several governors.

Biden’s campaign has pledged to select a woman as his running mate.

Biden released a statement through his campaign Thursday evening.

“I’ve admired Senator Cortez Masto as long as I have known her because she’s a leader with integrity,” he said. “Nevadans are fortunate to have her fighting for them in Washington, and I look forward to seeing her continue to lead in the Senate.”

Some believed Cortez Masto, the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant, could strengthen Biden’s appeal for two crucial Democratic voting blocs: women and Latinos. The former Nevada attorney general was the first Latina elected to the Senate in 2016.

She may have also helped Biden shore up his support in Nevada, where he finished a distant second to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the February Democratic caucuses. Although not weighed as heavily for political strategists as larger states like Michigan or Pennsylvania, Nevada is a key battleground that President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is targeting despite major Democratic gains in 2018.

Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, whom Cortez Masto succeeded, was among her biggest champions for a shot at the vice presidency.

Had she been elected, she would have surpassed Reid, a friend of her late father, as Nevada’s highest ranking federal official in history.

“I can’t say enough about my admiration for Sen. Cortez Masto,” Reid said in a statement shortly after Cortez Masto’s announcement. “She is a truly gifted leader who always puts Nevada first, and I will continue supporting her however I can. Her leadership will be critical as Nevada and the country recovers from this public health and economic crisis.”

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

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