Catherine Cortez Masto Says She's 'Proud To Stand' With Avowed Socialist

Nevada 'is a democratic socialist state,' according to Dem senator's top ally

Democratic socialist Tick Segerblom with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D.) (Via Twitter)
October 20, 2022

Nevada Democratic senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a self-described "moderate," said she was "proud to stand" with an avowed socialist at her latest campaign rally.

Cortez Masto on Sunday shared a photo with Clark County commissioner Tick Segerblom, writing, "I was proud to stand with [Segerblom] at my Gran Celebración Latina today! We will always fight for our families." Segerblom, who served as a state legislator for more than a decade before joining the commission, is an unabashed socialist. Las Vegas's Democratic Socialists of America chapter—which counts Segerblom as a member—has referred to the local official as "Comrade Commissioner" and touted his status as "one of the strongest progressive voices in Nevada and a well-loved member of our chapter." Segerblom, meanwhile, has said he's "not keeping quiet" until he gets "socialism," called Nevada a "democratic socialist state," and said he wants to see "a socialist in the White House."

Cortez Masto's willingness to tether herself to Segerblom is a likely attempt to appeal to the Democratic Party's liberal wing. But the move could threaten the incumbent senator's "moderate" persona, which Cortez Masto has used to appeal to disgruntled Latinos and independents in her tight reelection bid against Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. Cortez Masto's campaign site, for example, refers to the Democrat as a "reasonable, moderate" lawmaker who "works with Democrats, Republicans, and independents to strengthen our economy." But beyond her association with Nevada's left flank, Cortez Masto votes with President Joe Biden 93 percent of the time.

Cortez Masto, whose campaign did not return a request for comment, has a long history with Segerblom. The senator reportedly recruited Segerblom to run for Nevada Democratic Party chair—Segerblom said his vision for the role included "pushing the party to the left." "Like [Vermont senator] Bernie [Sanders], I energize the kids," Segerblom added. He went on to narrowly lose the race to fellow Sanders ally Judith Whitmer, who is also a Democratic Socialists of America member.

Segerblom was not the only controversial figure at the Sunday event. Cortez Masto was also photographed with former Illinois Democratic congressman Luis Gutiérrez, a former member of the now-defunct Puerto Rican Socialist Party, a Marxist group that was inspired by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Gutiérrez also pressed both the Clinton and Obama administrations to commute the sentences of more than a dozen members of the Puerto Rican militant group FALN, another Marxist organization that carried out more than 130 bombings in the United States from 1974 to 1983. When then-president Barack Obama pardoned FALN mastermind Oscar López Rivera in January 2017, Gutiérrez said he was "overjoyed and overwhelmed" by the decision, calling López Rivera "a friend, a mentor, and family to me." The Clinton administration offered López Rivera clemency in 1999 so long as he renounced violent terrorism, but the militant leader refused.

Cortez Masto's Sunday event marked an attempt from the Democrat to court Hispanic voters, which are expected to make up approximately 20 percent of Nevada's midterm electorate next month. Just days earlier, however, Cortez Masto skipped a Hispanic Heritage Month awards ceremony that was supposed to include the Democrat as one of its guests of honor. The event's other three honorees all attended in person, including Democratic lieutenant governor Lisa Cano Burkhead, who is also up for reelection in November. "I haven't seen her at all," one Latino voter in Las Vegas told the Free Beacon. "The Democrats are hiding because they don't seem to like answering questions. And that's a problem."