LAS VEGAS (AP) — Determined to retain their majority in the U.S. Senate, Democratic candidates are trying to replicate the strategy that boosted President Barack Obama’s election in 2008 by courting Hispanic voters at cultural events and Spanish-language meetings in swing states across the nation.

Republicans need to wrestle only three seats from the Democrats to gain control of the Senate, and Democrats hope ballooning Hispanic populations throughout the Southwest, Midwest and Eastern Seaboard will keep them in power.

In Nevada, Democrat Shelley Berkley recently helped host an event for students at Las Vegas‘ Hispanic-majority high schools and urged the teenagers to vote for her in next year’s U.S. Senate race.

She is challenging Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who is not as well known in the Hispanic community.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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