Without hand shakes, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in the third and final presidential debate Wednesday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a swing state more swinging than Nevada. Over the past century, the candidate who won the state has been elected president in all but one election: 1976, when Gerald Ford won its three electoral votes but lost the election to Jimmy Carter.
Six electoral votes are at stake there now. For much of the year, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton seemed to have a clear advantage, making it a fitting venue for the final presidential debate.
The most recent polling, though, has shown Hillary Clinton opening up something of a lead. The latest survey, from Monmouth University, gave her a seven-point advantage.
But despite its fast-growing and increasingly diverse population (28.1% of residents are Latino, according to census data), and the strong presence of major labor unions, Donald Trump has remained competitive and even led in some surveys as recently as the start of October.
Trump’s anti-establishment pitch has shown great appeal in the state, among the hardest-hit by the housing market collapse of 2007-2008. He won Nevada's February caucuses with nearly 46% of the vote in a crowded field.
Nevada not only is a presidential battleground but home to one of the most critical Senate races in the country, and two competitive congressional races. Republican Rep. Joe Heck and former Democratic state Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez-Masto are in a tight race to succeed Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, who is retiring.
Nevada’s governor, Brian Sandoval, is a Latino Republican, a moderate who has at times had to confront opposition within his own party. Reid even floated him as a potential Supreme Court pick for President Obama, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
This month Sandoval said he could not support Trump in the election after the release of video revealing Trump's vulgar remarks about groping women without their consent.