PAHRUMP, Nevada — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was heckled during a local “meet and greet” Sunday, the first of ten events in Cruz’s lightning 3-day tour of the Silver State. The incident turned violent with both the heckler and a Cruz supporter getting into a physical altercation and being escorted away from the scene by police officers.
Registered Democrat Craig Bohanon, 50, shouted from the audience as Cruz spoke from a Ford pickup truck bed which was made into a stage. Mostly unintelligible, Bohanon called Cruz a liar, defended Obamacare, and called for repealing the 16th Amendment.
Cruz supporter, Don, 66, allegedly grabbed Bohanon by his neck in order to silence him.
“He was screaming in my ear and I couldn’t hear anything,” he told Breitbart News. “He was saying that Obamacare is something done by Congress and not by Obama. I’m just here to see Ted Cruz.”
“Gosh, who would say ‘liar, liar?’ Cruz joked to the audience. He playfully added that he didn’t realize Bernie Sanders supporters were allowed in Nevada.
“Every one of us has a right to speak but it doesn’t give us a right to silence others. And you know it’s amazing when people think that the only way to respond with ideas they don’t understand is to yell and scream and insult them and try to yell them down.”
Asked by Breitbart News why he was at the Cruz rally, Bonham said “I am here to hear what the man has to say.” Although he told Breitbart he was not supporting anyone at this point, he later confessed that he would back either Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump.
In spite of the fact that President Barack Obama has himself referred to the Affordable Care Act as “Obamacare,” Bohanon told Breitbart News “there is no Obamacare. It is the Affordable Healthcare Act. Congress was the one that rewrote it.”
Bohanon said he would like to see either Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump win the presidency. “Otherwise we are stuck. We are stagnant. We need somebody who can really go in there and work to make a change. Whether the change is better or worse? We ned to change so we can get out of stagnation.”
He told Breitbart News that he and his male partner just celebrated their 28th anniversary on February 4.
Asked if socialism frightens him, he said “socialism, no. Communism, yes.”
Cruz has more events planned in the state than any other candidate. Rivals Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Donald Trump are also planning several events, largely in or near Reno, Elko, and Las Vegas, while Dr. Ben Carson has two events planned in the Reno area.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.