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Pence speaks out on Pittsburgh shooting during Las Vegas, Reno stops

Updated October 27, 2018 - 5:12 pm

In the wake of a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence kicked off a campaign rally in Las Vegas with a somber tone.

“As Las Vegas knows all too well, what happened in Pittsburgh today was not just criminal, it was evil,” Pence said at a rally inside the Sands Showroom at The Venetian. “An attack on innocent Americans and an assault on our freedom of religion. There is no place in America for violence or anti-Semitism, and this evil must end.”

Pence assured the several hundred attendees that President Donald Trump is directing federal resources to the investigation and prosecution of the gunman. He asked everyone to pray “for the strength and wisdom to do everything in our power to bring these senseless acts of violence to an end.”

“It’s a good time to remember to bow the head and bend the knee,” Pence said Saturday morning. “Let’s pray for America. Pray for all the people of America.”

Stumping for GOP hopefuls

Pence stopped in Las Vegas to stump for Republican Cresent Hardy, who is running for an open House seat. After rallying for Hardy, Pence headed to Carson City for a Saturday afternoon rally to support incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who faces a tough re-election battle against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, and Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who is running for governor against Democrat Steve Sisolak.

The visits came in the middle of Nevada’s two-week early voting period, which started Oct. 20 and ends Friday. Election Day is Nov. 6.

Standing on a stage set between classic military aircraft, Pence urged the crowd who came to hear him speak inside a hangar at the Carson City Airport to go out and vote for Heller and Laxalt to help further President Trump’s agenda in Washington and in Nevada.

“We need partners in the state level and renewed leadership at the federal level,” Pence said.

Pence praised Heller for the supporting Trump’s major policies, including helping pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and for being “100 percent pro-life,” and he touted Laxalt’s work done as Nevada’s attorney general in the last four years.

Laxalt and Heller, both of whom spoke before Pence, went on the offensive early in their remarks.

Heller characterized Rosen, who represents a large chunk of Clark County from her 3rd Congressional seat, as someone who only cares about the southern tip of Nevada.

“If you live outside of Las Vegas, you don’t matter to her,” Heller said. “All she cares about is Southern Nevada.”

Laxalt attacked Sisolak as someone who would take Nevada “the way of California — high taxes, more regulations, crazy ideas.”

‘Nevada tough’

In Las Vegas, with the giant letters #NevadaTough on either side of him, Pence told voters to send Hardy back to Congress to help Trump fight for more jobs, lower taxes and rolling back federal red tape.

“Cresent knows how to create jobs,” Pence said. “He’s created hundreds of jobs working in construction. He just never quits. When you think of Cresent Hardy, you just think of Nevada tough.”

Pence also said Hardy will work with the administration to give Americans “a fresh start on health care reform” that lowers health insurance and protects people with pre-existing conditions.

Hardy, who represented Nevada’s 4th Congressional District for one term, is running for the seat against Democrat Steven Horsford, who also held the seat for one term. Hardy defeated Horsford in 2014.

Hardy was introduced Saturday by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and David Perdue, R-Ga., who said he’ll be a voice for conservative values. Hardy, who grew up on his father’s ranch, said he learned the value of hard work at a young age.

“I’m not a college-educated guy,” Hardy said. “But I’ve had a great life and great success coming from hard work, and I’ve been blessed because of it.”

Denise Belva, a mental health counselor, said she had goose bumps waiting to see Pence. The lifelong Republican moved from New Jersey to Nevada eight months ago.

“I don’t know a lot about politics, but I know what I want in my country,” Belva said. “I can forgive a lot, but I vote pro-life. Anyone who’s pro-life wins my vote.”

Standing in line waiting to get inside the theater early Saturday, David Salamida said he’s proud to be a conservative black Republican. The 38-year-old said he was set on fire when he was 2, and his faith got him through it.

“It’s good to see a president who stands up for what he believes in,” Salamida said. “He’s not doing it just for the votes. He is not a politician.”

Democrats on Saturday said Pence and Hardy are both “out of touch with Nevada voters.”

“Cresent Hardy has made it abundantly clear that he will be a rubber stamp for the Trump-Pence agenda in Congress,” said Michael Soneff, a spokesman for the Nevada Democratic Party. “Unlike Hardy, Steven Horsford shares Nevada values and will put Nevadans’ interests first in Congress.”

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates The Venetian and Palazzo.

Contact Ramona Giwargis at rgiwargis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4538. Follow @RamonaGiwargis on Twitter. Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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