LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada said Thursday that she’s not interested in serving as running mate to presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Cortez Masto, who in 2016 became the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate, said in a statement that she supports the former vice president but does not want to join the Democratic presidential ticket.
“I support Joe Biden 100% and will work tirelessly to help get him elected this November. It is an honor to be considered as a potential running mate but I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration,” Cortez Masto said in a statement.
She noted that Nevada’s economy is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus, with the worst unemployment rate in the nation at 28.2%. She said she will focus on getting Nevada residents back on their feet.
She did not offer more information about her decision to withdraw.
Cortez Masto is one of more than 10 women whose names have been suggested as possible running mates for Biden, who has committed to picking a woman.
Cortez Masto, 56, was one of the highest-profile Latinas believed to be on Biden’s short list of potential running mates. Some activists had suggested she could have helped Biden win over Hispanics whose support could be crucial to winning the presidency in November.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, another Latina, is also believed to be on Biden’s short list.
Cortez Masto did not endorse Biden until late April. Biden finished a distant second in Nevada’s February caucuses to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose win was fueled by strong Latino support.
Cortez Masto had demurred in the past about whether she’d be interested in serving as Biden’s running mate, saying that it was flattering to be considered but that she was focused on her role in the Senate.
She is a former Nevada attorney general who was recruited by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to run for his seat in 2016 when he retired.
Before serving eight years as Nevada’s attorney general, she was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C.
Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid released the following statement in response to Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s decision to withdraw from consideration as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate:
“I can’t say enough about my admiration for Sen. Cortez Masto. She is a truly gifted leader who always puts Nevada first, and I will continue supporting her however I can. Her leadership will be critical as Nevada and the country recovers from this public health and economic crisis.”– Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid