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Republicans trade barbs at candidate forum

Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 21:32:43-05

Republican presidential candidates weren't the only ones locked in heated debate last night.

Six hopefuls running for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District appeared at a forum Thursday at the Siena adult living facility in the Summerlin area.

And just like their national counterparts, the six candidates leveed attacks both personal and political at their opponents. 

State Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson is generally considered the front-runner, and leads the fundraising race according to OpenSecrets.

He fended off criticism from other candidates and audience members unhappy with legislators who approved $1.1 billion in new and extended taxes as part of an effort to improve Nevada's paltry K-12 education system.

"Now I understand that people don't like taxes, but we are at 1992 state government spending levels," he said. "That's after the tax reform."

Roberson and former congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian traded verbal blows, with both accusing the other of taking money from special interest groups and certain industries. 

Candidates also addressed issues like illegal immigration, military spending and tax reform, while making the case to around 50 attendees to vote for them in the June primary election.

The congressional hopefuls who attended the forum included Roberson, Tarkanian, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, Dr. Annette Teijeiro, former Nevada Policy Research Institute president Andy Matthews,  and retired Lt Colonel Kerry Bowers.

Candidates are running to replace Republican Rep. Joe Heck, who announced his bid for retiring Sen. Harry Reid's seat last year. The district covers much of Southern Nevada, including parts of Summerlin and Henderson.

Attorney Jesse Sbaih, Ner Tamid congregation president Jacky Rosen and Alex Singer are running as Democrats in the district.