The Nevada Senate race has been marked as one of the most important races in the nation from the beginning.
First-term congresswoman Jacky Rosen is thought by many analysts to represent Democrats’ best chance to flip a Republican seat by defeating Sen. Dean Heller.
But with the election just one month away, Rosen is still climbing the same hill she’s faced since she got in the race — getting people to know who she is.
"Jacky Rosen was introducing herself again.
Milling among a crowd celebrating Mexican Independence Day in a park, Ms. Rosen, the Democratic Senate nominee for Nevada, had much on her mind. But to get voters to listen, she needed to make an impression first, with precious little time left before the November election.
'Hi, I’m Jacky,' she said over and over in a hot breeze that smelled like corn dogs — the world’s best, if you trusted the truck making them. An aide motioned for someone to take a picture. 'I’m Jacky.'
Some people nodded. Others looked confused."
Despite her strong performance in polls so far, and the high profile nature of her race, Rosen is a much more understated and less-discussed candidate nationally than someone like Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who has gained a national profile while challenging Sen. Ted Cruz.
According to The New York Times, that understated profile is considered an advantage by both Republicans (“I think you have to have a very compelling reason to get rid of an incumbent U.S. Senator, and there isn't one.” said Sig Rogich, a Republican strategist in Nevada) and Democrats ("Ms. Rosen’s supporters view her as a viable alternative, a left-of-center Democrat whose biography and sparse voting record leave Republicans with little to attack. ... If Ms. Rosen is understated — more Mojave Desert beige than Las Vegas neon — that, her backers say, is the point").
The Kavanaugh dilemma
Rosen attempted to gain some political points on Heller by highlighting a controversial remark Heller made about sexual assault allegations. The Senator referred to the allegations as a "hiccup" for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to get past, before later clarifying that he didn't mean to dismiss the seriousness of the allegations.
But even the polarizing Kavanaugh situation may not have as much of an impact on Nevada voter turnout, for either side, as it will in other states. Nevada, while won by Hillary Clinton by 2 points in 2016, is somewhat of a "purple" state politically.
A poll released on Oct. 1 shows Rosen has a 3 point advantage among registered voters and a four point advantage among "likely voters," and an analysis from September on RealClearPolitics points out the precarious position Heller appears to be in.
"Dean Heller is hanging in there, and Jacky Rosen has stumbled a few times as a candidate. But an incumbent senator trailing his opponent while taking in just 40 percent of the vote two months before Election Day is not in good shape."
The Cook Political Report lists the Nevada Senate race as a "toss up."