CARSON CITY – Three of the Republicans seeking the right to challenge state Democratic Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford for Nevada’s new 4th Congressional District seat sought to establish their conservative credentials in a televised debate today.
Barbara Cegavske, in the middle of her final four-year term in the state Senate, Danny Tarkanian, who has run for elective office on several occasions including a campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2010, and Dan Schwartz, a businessman and attorney fresh to the political arena, are seeking a victory in the June 12 primary to advance to the November general election.
In a televised debate on the Face To Face television program, the candidates took the opportunity to sell themselves voters.
The debate was fairly subdued, without any real fireworks among the three candidates.
The sharpest attack came when Schwartz’s television ad was aired, which criticized Tarkanian for running repeatedly for a “taxpayer funded” job. Schwartz called himself a job creating businessman and a constitutional conservative in the spot.
“The question is, he’s run three times and Nevadans have said they’ve considered it, they just haven’t pulled the lever,” Schwartz said in commenting on his ad.
Cegavske said she would examine the federal budget line-by-line to find savings in an effort to achieve her campaign goal of cutting $1 trillion in federal spending in her first year in office. The U.S. Department of Education would be the place to start with the Commerce Department second, she said.
“You can go through all the agencies, and if you start looking through each one, you bring that money back to the states, give block granting, and you can cut administration,” she said.
Tarkanian offered some specifics on what he would do if elected, pointing to flaws in the Endangered Species Act and potential protections for the Sage Grouse that are stifling job growth in Nevada.
“Everywhere I go in rural Nevada, everywhere I go in the Mesquite area, they complain that if you are on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land and you want to get a mine started, if you want to do anything on BLM land, it takes seven to 10 years to get it processed through the federal government,” he said.
The same process takes three to five years at the state level, Tarkanian said.
“Why does it take almost twice as long in the federal government when Nevada needs jobs. We should make it easier for people to get permitted,” he said.
Tarkanian also said his proposal for tax fairness means eliminating tax loopholes and tax breaks and lowering the income tax rate for average Americans.
The three candidates agreed with Gov. Brian Sandoval that Internet purchases should be subjected to the state sales tax. Sandoval recently reached an agreement with Amazon to collect the tax on Nevada purchases. Their positions conflict, however, with U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck, both R-Nev., who oppose the so-called Main Street Protection Act.
The three candidates agreed for the need to repeal the federal health care law, but they also argued that worthwhile elements, such as providing coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, should be continued independently.
Tarkanian said his biggest concern with the law is the cost to the state’s Medicaid program, which cannot be afforded. The health care system can be strengthened by allowing health insurance to be purchased across state lines and by providing for the portability of health insurance plans, he said.
Cegavske said the law has to be repealed in its entirety as the first step.
“And anything that is salvageable or people think is good then you can bring those issues back,” she said. “We don’t have the money to pay for Obamacare.”
Schwartz said repeal is necessary although there are some elements worth preserving such as letting children stay on their parents insurance through age 26.
Then the real problems have to be addressed such as how hospitals are paid, he said.
“Another real problem is that we as Americans all feel entitled to health care,” Schwartz said. “And we just can’t continue with a system that just says you can get whatever you want.”
Tarkanian is leading in the fundraising race for the primary, while long-time state lawmaker Cegavske has been endorsed by Nevada’s two GOP Congressional representatives: Mark Amodei and Joe Heck. Cegavske served with both men in the state Senate.
The Republican candidate faces a challenge in the district, however, newly created as a result of the 2010 census. The district, which includes parts of urban Clark County and much of central rural Nevada, has a Democratic voter edge.
Through April, there were 111,978 active Democrats registered in the district, compared to 89,182 Republicans, for a 44 percent to 35.1 percent for Republicans. There are also 39,273 nonpartisan voters.
Sen. Barbara Cegavske says federal spending can be slashed using block grants:
Cegavske says Nevada cannot afford the federal health care law:
Candidate Dan Schwartz says Danny Tarkanian has failed to win the support of Nevada voters in past campaigns:
Schwartz says federal health care costs must be curtailed:
Candidate Danny Tarkanian says federal permitting rules need to be streamlined:
Tarkanian says the federal health care law will bankrupt the state: