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Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada running for reelection

Associated Press

By Ken Ritter/Associated Press

Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Democrat from Nevada who steered a moderate path during her first term in the chamber, announced Wednesday that she will seek reelection in the perennial battleground state.

In a statement, Rosen focused on her efforts to promote bipartisanship and “big problems to solve” for the country, including “lowering costs for the middle class, defending abortion rights, tackling the climate crisis (and) protecting Social Security and Medicare.”

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Rosen’s announcement is welcome news for Democrats ahead of a challenging 2024 Senate map. They must defend incumbents not only in red states — Montana, Ohio and West Virginia — but also in multiple swing states.

No Republican challengers have yet announced plans to take on Rosen. She ended 2022 with $4.4 million cash on hand in her campaign accounts, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

The November 2024 election will come two years after Rosen’s colleague from Nevada, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, eked out a reelection victory over Republican Adam Laxalt, even though the GOP managed to flip the governor’s mansion in the state.

Rosen, 65, was a first-term congresswoman from a Las Vegas-area district when she defeated GOP incumbent Sen. Dean Heller in 2018. Before that, she was president of a prominent Jewish synagogue in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson.

Democrats in Nevada hold a statewide registration edge over Republicans, 32.2% to 29.7%, though both trail the 38% who aren’t affiliated with either party. Rural voters lean heavily Republican, but elections often swing to Democrats with support from ballots cast in the state’s two biggest population centers, Las Vegas and Reno.

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“Nevada is always a battleground, and this Senate race will be one of the toughest in the country,” Rosen said in an online video prepared for her announcement. “What happens in Nevada in 2024 could once again decide control of the Senate.”

Rosen’s work on Senate committees reflects her state’s roots, including her role as chair of the Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion subcommittee. Other panel assignments include aging, armed services, health and education, small businesses, and national security and governmental affairs.

Rosen works often together with Cortez Masto, the first Latina from Nevada to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

In recent months, Rosen and Cortez Masto have urged the Federal Communications Commission to revise its broadband map of Nevada to correct what they call errors in the depiction of internet availability that results in less funding for areas that lack adequate upload and download speeds.

Last week, Rosen joined with Republican Congressman John Thune of South Dakota to introduce a bill aimed at forcing the FCC to wait for updated maps before allocating money.

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On Monday, Rosen spoke to the state Legislature in Carson City, praising the female-majority Assembly and Senate, and touting federal bipartisan legislation related to STEM education, health and tourism, and investments in rural communities.

“And so much of our work, my work, was bipartisan,” she said.

A report last May by the Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University ranked Rosen among the Senate’s most bipartisan members. She ranked ninth among 98 senators, behind Republican John Cornyn of Texas and ahead of Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Cortez Masto ranked 34th.

In the years since Rosen went to Washington, political contests in Nevada have drawn increasingly intense national interest. Mail-in voting was expanded by the Democratic-led state Legislature to every active voter. But counting results in both primary and general election is delayed for several days to let election offices receive postmarked ballots.

The 2022 victory by Cortez Masto, who had been considered the most vulnerable Democratic senator up for reelection, helped the party clinch control of the Senate for the next two years of Joe Biden’s presidency. She defeated Laxalt by fewer than 8,000 votes out of nearly 1 million ballots cast.