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Latina Seeking U.S. Senate Seat Favored as Nevada Primary Voting Opens

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In this May 31, 2016, file photo, Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto, center, laughs while speaking with people at a campaign event at a restaurant in Las Vegas. Democratic leader Harry Reid says he wishes he could stay in the U.S. Senate forever. John Locher / AP

Nevada Latinos are at the polls again in a high-stakes primary that could send into the general a candidate who has the chance to be one of the first Latinas in the U.S. Senate.

Polls opened Tuesday morning for the state's primary election. Nevada held its presidential preference caucuses in February, which was won by Hillary Clinton, who is now the Democrats presumptive nominee. Polls were to close at 7 p.m.

Among those on the ballot is Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada native who served as the state's attorney general. Cortez Masto, who is Mexican American, is seeking the seat held by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who is retiring. He has given her his support.

Currently, there are no Latinas in the U.S. Senate. There are three Latinos - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Along with Cortez Masto, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., is seeking a Senate seat and faces a runoff in her race, although she finished second behind the top finisher Kamala Harris.

Cortez Masto is the heavy favorite in the Democratic primary race, over her opponent Bobby Mahendra.

Also on the ballot are four House races and state Legislature contests.

The story includes material from The Associated Press.

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