Incredible but true: Nevada’s Senate candidate forum ended in a loud shouting match and fist fight between supporters of Harry Reid and Sharron Angle.
The unruly affair went down at the unlikely venue of Faith Lutheran high school in Summerlin, a master-planned community just west of the Las Vegas city limits.
As the forum opened, attendees were asked not to applaud or shout out questions or comments during the event. Harry Reid answered questions via a pre-taped 30-minute interview, and then Sharron Angle answered a moderator’s questions live on stage.
A few in the 800-member audience snickered and murmured during portions of Reid’s video segment, particularly when he was talking about health care reform, and a couple of comments were uttered loud enough to be heard throughout the auditorium. For the most part, though, the crowd was respectful and fairly reserved during the Reid portion of the forum.
That changed once Angle appeared. Most of the 800-member audience jumped to their feet, half of them cheering, half loudly booing as she and the moderator took the stage. Even once all were seated and Angle began to speak, many in the crowd were quite boisterous and some became increasingly bold and uncivil as the event continued.
Angle was repeatedly shouted at as she tried to answer questions. Scornful remarks, sarcastic questions, and accusations including “Liar!” were shouted by Reid partisans. The moderator politely asked for order, twice, but it had little effect on the more raucous members of the crowd.
At one point, the moderator admonished the audience and said shouting and applause cut into Angle’s speaking time. A few people then deliberately continued clapping and making comments to prevent Angle from saying anything. To her credit, Angle stayed composed and continued speaking even when as many as 30 or 40 audience members were shouting all at once.
As Angle was giving her closing statements, some Reid supporters stood up and began to leave. An Angle and Reid supporter exchanged angry remarks which drew in others and led to a punch being thrown. This led to a shouting match as witnesses on both sides argued about the situation, and two security guards pushed through the small crowd in order to break up the situation.
UPDATE: Here’s some video of the heckling from the event, courtesy of our video guy Mike Chamberlain. You’ll have to go here for pictures of the punch that was thrown.