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Republican Assemblyman Richard McArthur will have to fend off opponents from the left and the right if he wants to win a second term in District 4.

McArthur, a former Air Force pilot and FBI agent, has drawn challenges from Democrat Gary Fisher and Independent American Party candidate Mark Andrews.

This is the first campaign for public office for Fisher, a 15-year resident of the Las Vegas Valley. Andrews has run unsuccessfully for the Assembly twice, and state treasurer twice.

Fisher said it will take mix of cuts and new taxes to solve the state’s budget crisis.

"We can’t tax our way out of this. We can’t cut our way out of this. It’s going to have to be a combination," he said.

Specifically, he said he favors "outcome-based funding" for state agencies and departments, and he advocates a progressive tax on any business that makes more than $100,000 in profit in a year.

"I’m going to be a person who is going to engage in serious discussions about solutions, not just vote no on everything," said Fisher, a University of Nevada, Reno professor who teaches online courses in substance abuse treatment and counseling. "Anybody can vote no; I think it takes a legislator to study issues and come up with solutions."

McArthur said if that is meant as a dig at him, it doesn’t agree with his record, which shows him voting no on less than 14 percent of bills while the Democrats voted in complete lockstep more than 97 percent of the time.

"The Republicans said ‘no’ all the time? No to what, bad bills?" McArthur said.

As for the budget, McArthur said he keeps hearing talk of a $3 billion hole, but he doesn’t buy that. "I just think this monster number is being perpetrated by the Democrats to scare up a tax increase."

McArthur said that if state lawmakers really want to create jobs, they should be doing everything they can to help businesses. "If there were three things I could do it would be cut taxes, cut government spending and deport illegals," he said.

McArthur wants Nevada to adopt a similar law to the controversial one enacted in Arizona earlier this year. If none of his colleagues are willing to introduce such a bill he will do it himself, he said.

Andrews also considers illegal immigration a major issue and a huge financial drain on the state services that he would fight to end. "I’m guessing there’s a billion dollars there," he said.

His main reason for running, though, is to stand against what he sees as a growing effort to pass the "second largest tax increase in (Nevada) history."

Andrews said he joined the Independent American Party 16 years ago because he thought the GOP had moved away from its core conservative principles.

He said the IAP could win a seat in the Assembly for the first time this year. There are two candidates with a good chance of winning — three if you include him, he said.

Andrews described McArthur as a "good guy." "I think of him as conservative lite and me as the real conservative," he said.

If voters are fed up with the two-party system and truly serious about wanting something different, Andrews said, "I’m the different."

Contact reporter Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350.

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