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Rep. Mark Amodei speaks at a town hall at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center on April 17, 2017, in Reno, Nevada.

POLITICS: Rep. Mark Amodei, challenger Danny Tarkanian clash over conservative principles in heated Nevada primary

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Conservative principles have taken center stage in the heated clash between incumbent Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., and challenger Danny Tarkanian in the race to represent Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District in the next U.S. Congress.

In exclusive interviews with Fox News Digital, each of the candidates argued they were the true conservative in the race, with Amodei touting his record voting in tandem with former President Donald Trump’s policies, and Tarkanian declaring he was the conservative that voters across the district “deserve and demand.”

“Hey Amodei, you RINO. Seriously?” began one of Amodei’s ads he alluded to when asked about the criticism he’d received from Tarkanian over his congressional voting record. The 30-second ad went on to show him pushing back on the “Republican in Name Only” characterization by touting his positive ratings with the NRA and pro-life organizations, as well as “a Trump rating of 95%.”

The six-term congressman explained he was “comfortable” with his record amid attacks from Tarkanian that he was not “being conservative enough,” and specifically cited his connection to the voters as a member of the community, as well as an awareness of their conservative values, as reasons they should re-elect him.

Rep. Mark Amodei speaks at a town hall at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center on April 17, 2017, in Reno, Nevada.
(David Calvert/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS VOTERS REVEAL TOP PRIORITIES AHEAD OF NEVADA’S PRIMARY ELECTIONS

“My Trump voting record is more than Jim Jordan’s,” he said, referencing the Ohio Republican and member of the House Freedom Caucus. “If you’re looking for conservatism, I think I’ve more than got that.”

He later added he’d be “happy” to receive Trump’s endorsement in the race, should he decide to get involved.

Tarkanian, a frequent candidate who has run for political office seven times since 2004 and was elected in 2020 to the County Commission in Douglas County, Nevada, described his attacks against Amodei as more of a comparison between the latter’s voting record and his conservative principles.

“There’s been no attacks. All we’ve talked about is his voting record compared to mine,” Tarkanian said, before mentioning the same ad Amodei cited when pushing back on the RINO characterization.

“He called himself a RINO in one of his ads. All we’ve done is distinguish his voting record from mine,” he said. “He’s not conservative.”

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Tarkanian specifically criticized what he claimed was Amodei’s support for red flag laws and universal background checks when it came to Americans purchasing firearms, despite Amodei’s “A” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), and slammed his votes to provide Ukraine an additional $40 billion amid its war with Russia, as well as to pass the largely Democrat-backed omnibus spending bill earlier this year.

“I don’t think any of that is a conservative voting record,” he said. “District voters deserve and demand someone who is going to vote as a conservative and also fight for them when their freedoms and liberties are being taken away.”

Republican Nevada congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian appeared on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on June 10 to discuss his campaign.

Republican Nevada congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on June 10 to discuss his campaign.
(Fox News)

Amodei and Tarkanian found agreement when it came to what they thought would be on the minds of voters in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District as they headed to the polls: The economy.

“They care about the economy, they care about inflation, and they care about illegal immigration. By far, and it’s not even close,” Tarkanian said, expressing confidence voters wouldn’t be distracted by things like the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Amodei admitted he didn’t watch the committee’s primetime Thursday hearing because he was traveling as it was airing, but poured water on the idea it was anything more than “a political fireworks show.” 

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He added that because of the focus on things like Jan. 6, voters weren’t hearing solutions about the issues affecting them every day, such as supply chain problems and the costs of goods and services.

“I think there is a lot of frustration with Washington right now. A lot of frustration, and frustration is the nicest word you could say,” he said, arguing that the Jan. 6 committee was “adding to the frustration and anger.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, flanked by Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Elise Stefanik, speaks with reporters at the Capitol, March 16, 2022.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, flanked by Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Elise Stefanik, speaks with reporters at the Capitol, March 16, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

When asked if he would support Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to be the next speaker should Republicans win control of the House in the general election, Tarkanian said it would depend on who was running.

He stated that he’s had a “good relationship” with McCarthy, but that he couldn’t yet provide an answer.

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Nevada’s primary elections are being held on Tuesday, June 14.



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