Tensions between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Tea Party-backed Republican challenger Sharron Angle spilled over into an all-out brawl Thursday at the end of a Nevada Senate race forum.
Security guards broke up the scuffle between a man who supports Angle and two women who support Reid after several bystanders failed to separate them at Faith Lutheran Jr./Sr. High School, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
"He punched me twice, so I punched him back twice," Kay Mehta told the newspaper as she nursed a red, tearing eye and waited for police to arrive. "I was just defending myself."
Mehta's friend, Kelly Tanaki, said the fight began when the Angle supporter pushed her over. She said the fight occurred because she walked past the man, not because they back different candidates.
The unidentified man was detained by school officials.
"I didn't expect anything like this, not in a million years," the Rev. Robin Joyce, one of the organizers of the event, told the newspaper. "Our whole aim was to have an educational forum to hear from the candidates about their economic positions."
The fight came after an impassioned event during which the crowd both heckled and cheered Angle and Reid.
Both candidates were asked about health care, education and job creation. Reid couldn't make the forum, but filmed his responses.
Most polls have the candidates running neck and neck. They will debate each other on TV on Oct. 14, two days before early voting starts in Nevada.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.