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Catherine Cortez Masto, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Nevada, delivers her victory speech at the Nevada Democrats' election night watch party at the Aria Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas on Nov. 8, 2016.
Bill Clark—AP

Former Nevada attorney general, Catherine Cortez Masto, defeated Republican Joseph J. Heck on Tuesday to become the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate.

The 52-year-old will fill the seat of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader, who backed Cortez Masto and will be retiring after three decades in the Senate. Cortez Masto will join three other Latinos in the Senate — Sens. Ted Cruz, Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio, who kept his Florida seat on Tuesday.

Cortez Masto is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, who focused her campaign on the future of Supreme Court picks before the Senate and immigration overhaul, the New York Times reports.

As the news came in, Cortez Masto tweeted that she was proud to be Nevada’s first female senator. Latinos nationwide celebrated her win, with some Democrats calling it a “silver-lining” and the “tiniest speck of light” after Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election.


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