Deep in Trump country, Nevada's first openly gay, Latino mayor leads a blue-leaning city – NBC News

Corona is only about a month younger than West Wendover, which incorporated in 1991.

Less than 8 square miles, West Wendover sits on the edge of the Utah border, so close that the city runs on Mountain Standard Time instead of Pacific Standard Time like the rest of Nevada. Prior to the pandemic, the dusty, desert city saw about 15,000 to 20,000 tourists, mostly from the Salt Lake City region, coming to its casinos each weekend.

A close-knit community in which everyone knows one another by one to two degrees of separation, West Wendover is a place where neighbors leave groceries on the doorsteps of families struggling financially without being asked, residents said.

When Corona told people in high school that he was gay, he was comforted by how accepting most of his classmates were. He found the same reception during his mayoral campaign in 2016, with few residents focusing on his sexual orientation. If anything, he said, they had more concerns about his age or that he still lived with his mother.

“Or they wanted to know more about how I was a Democrat,” Corona said, laughing.

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The city voted for Republican presidential candidates in 2008 and 2012 and has only recently begun to lean more liberal in local and national elections, as the number of registered voters rose from 661 in 2008 to 1,125 in 2020. Residents also say that the city’s younger voters — the median age in West Wendover is 31 — became more active in the political process.

Corona became interested in politics at 16 when he heard a speech by Barack Obama. After high school, he moved to Salt Lake City and then Las Vegas to attend college, but he returned to

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