Actress Eva Longoria and a Latino political empowerment organization she co-founded endorsed Nevada’s former attorney general for the U.S. Senate seat that will be open upon Harry Reid’s retirement at the end of the year.

Longoria said she is backing Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, because she is the best qualified for the job.

“I’m proud to endorse Catherine Cortez Masto because she’s tough, she’s fair, and she’s the right person for the job,” Longoria said in a statement. “Catherine has proven that she will fight for Nevadans, and I’m certain that in the Senate, she will fight not only for Latino families, but for all families throughout the country.”

“It’s time we send the first woman from Nevada – and the very first Latina – to the Senate.”
Cortez Masto, whom Reid has endorsed, is running against three-term Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican small business owner.

It is considered one of the most competitive congressional races in the country.

The contenders for Reid's seat say they raised similar amounts in the last three months of 2015, although the Republican candidate has more in the bank.

Cortez Masto reported raising more than $1.3 million in the last quarter. Her campaign has $2 million cash on hand.

Her campaign manager said 93 percent of contributors gave less than $200, and pointed to that as a sign that she has broad grassroots momentum.
   
Heck reported raising $1.2 million in the last quarter, while his campaign has $2.9 million cash on hand.

Heck's spokesman said the fundraising numbers show Nevadans want a change from decades under the leadership of Reid - a Democrat who supports Cortez Masto.

Cristóbal Alex, Latino Victory Fund president, said: “The Latino community is ready to witness yet another milestone that will help elevate us above the hateful anti-Latino rhetoric that has tarnished recent political campaigns. Catherine is the fierce leader who will blaze this trail for the next generations.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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