Paul staffer says Rubio aide punched him
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A top official for Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLexington mayor launches bid for Congress Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics Meet the Iran hawk who could be Trump's next secretary of State MORE (R-Ky.) is accusing a rival staffer with Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE (R-Fla.) of punching him in the face.

John Yob, the national political director for Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign, says the incident occurred early Friday morning in a bar on Mackinac Island, Mich.

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“I ran into a guy named Rich Beeson, who frankly I didn’t even know who it was at first as he isn’t relevant in our political world,” Yob wrote on his Facebook page.

“Anyway, he is Marco Rubio’s national campaign manager,” he said. “He literally physically assaulted me in the face.”

“The state police are looking for him,” Yob added of Beeson. “I have it on video, from multiple angles. This will play out in the national media in the next few hours.”

Yob has subsequently released footage allegedly depicting the physical violence against him.

The Detroit News reported on Friday that the pair’s confrontation allegedly took place at Horn’s Gaslight Bar on Mackinac Island.

"We're aware of the initial reports and trying to find out what really happened," Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told The Hill in an email.

A spokesman for the Paul campaign said it is declining to provide additional comment on the incident at this time.
 
Mackinac Island police chief Brett Riccinto downplayed the severity of the confrontation on Friday afternoon.

“It wasn’t a brawl,” he said, according to The Guardian. “If anything, it was a shove — literally a shove. This thing has been blown way, way, way out of proportion.”

The Detroit News said that Paul and Rubio’s presidential campaigns are on Mackinac Island for this weekend’s biennial Michigan Republican Leadership Conference.

Their teams are joining staff representing the campaigns of former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) and Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) as well.

Paul will be attending the event, while Rubio is sending surrogates, the Detroit News reported.

Conservative blogger Brandon Hall backed up Yob’s version of the alleged fight in a blog post published Friday morning.

“Beeson may want to learn how to control his alcohol,” the Grand Haven, Mich., writer said on his West Michigan Politics blog.

“I witnessed Beeson, suddenly, out of nowhere, approach one of Rand Paul’s advisers, John Yob, unprovoked and try to hit him,” Hall said.

“Beeson missed a full-on shot but still struck Yob in the face with a powerful blow near the jaw,” he added.

Hall additionally told The Detroit News that Beeson was lobbying for support for Rubio in the weekend’s straw poll there.

Horn’s Gaslight Bar owner Patti Ann Moskwa stated that both men played a part in inciting the confrontation.

“Somebody’s just trying to get more attention,” she said, according to MSNBC reporter Benjy Sarlin’s Twitter account. “It’s just two babies that can’t get along.”

Rubio currently ranks fifth out of 16 GOP presidential candidates, with 5.3 percent, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of national polls.

Paul, meanwhile, presently places seventh, with 3.3 percent voter support of his own.