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'Weekend Edition' Host Lulu Garcia-Navarro Reports From Las Vegas

This episode of Weekend Edition features some stories from Las Vegas, including a heated Senate race and recovery from last year's mass shooting.



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne in Washington, D.C.


And I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro in Las Vegas, Nev.

MONTAGNE: And, Lulu, you have been there all week. And we are going to hear throughout this morning show the stories you've been finding there on this reporting trip, which, of course, comes just before what we've all been talking about - the midterms.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's right. Politics is the big story here. President Trump was just here this past Thursday at a big rally at the convention center.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Promise me. You got to get out for the - don't be complacent. You got to get out for the midterms, got to vote.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: And later today, former first lady Michelle Obama will be here to get out the vote for her When We All Vote initiative. Why are Democrats and Republicans pushing that message here, Renee? Well, because turnout will be crucial for Nevada's Senate race. It's a toss-up right now. And who wins could help decide the control of the Senate.

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MONTAGNE: Well, give us a sense of how that looks there in Nevada in particular.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. This state is really interesting. It's a state with not a lot of people. And most of those people are clustered around Reno and Las Vegas, where I am. Here's Jon Ralston, editor of The Nevada Independent, giving a sense of what the layout of the political landscape is.


JON RALSTON: Nevada is really three different states when it comes to politics. You have the very, very Democratic area around Las Vegas. Then you have Washoe County, which is Reno, which is the swing county - it's about even. Then you have 15 other counties that are very, very red. Rural Nevada is like rural America - loves President Trump and will probably vote 70 percent for the Republican candidate.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So this is a state that is divided. But it's also a state that's growing increasingly diverse, in part because of all the people working in the service industry here. You have Asians, African-Americans and Latinos. And many of them vote reliably Democrat. But during midterm elections, they don't come out to vote compared to white rural voters. So that's the big point of contention here - who is going to be able to get their reliable voters out to vote and out to the polls?

MONTAGNE: And, Lulu, those of us in the rest of the country probably can't think of Las Vegas without remembering the horrible shooting there, that massacre at an outdoor concert.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's right. It's been almost a year since 58 people were killed when a man opened fire on a country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. The city, Renee, has bounced back. And here in Las Vegas, it seems like business as usual, lots of tourists, you know, shows going on. But we're going to hear from people who were there that day, who tell us how hard it's been for them to move on.

MONTAGNE: Well, Lulu, thanks very much. And, of course, we're looking forward to hearing from you later in the show.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're welcome, Renee.

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