Jack Conway's Senate campaign claims Republican rival Rand Paul has not done enough to condemn a supporter's stomping of a liberal activist.
Paul campaign volunteer Tim Profitt was seen helping drag to the ground Lauren Valle, a 23-year-old activist affiliated with the group MoveOn.org, at a candidates debate in Lexington, Ky., Monday night. Video showed Profitt then stomping twice on the head of Valle.
Paul's campaign has since dismissed Profitt as Bourbon County campaign coordinator and barred him from future campaign events. It also issued a statement saying that "violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse and we urge supporters on all sides to be civil to one another as tensions rise heading toward this very important election."
"The Paul campaign's response to the assault Monday night was tepid at best, and what was most disturbing and appalling about his response was how it morphed," he said. "The Paul campaign has to answer for the actions of a whole series of supporters," some of whom he described as having a "mob, thuggish mentality."
The Kentucky Senate race has been one of the most watched campaign's this cycle. Most polls show Conway trailing Paul, and the Democrat's campaign appears to be using the incident as part of their closing argument to Kentucky voters.
Conway also issued a statement Tuesday, saying "we can disagree on issues, and I don't know what preceded the incident, but physical violence by a man against a woman must never be tolerated." But now, his campaign is taking its response one step further.
Even though Profitt was dismissed from the campaign, liberal blogs and activists railed against the Paul campaign Tuesday for its response to the incident.
Collins pointed to some of those same concerns. He accused Paul's campaign and Paul himself of making inconsistent comments on the incident, pointing out Profitt's comments that the incident was not as bad as it looked and that police were not quick enough to intervene.
"Anyone who sees [the video] considers it laughable if it weren't so serious," Collins said.
Paul spokesman Gary Howard said that the campaign has already "condemned the incident" and accused the Conway campaign of trying to distract voters from the issues.
"We've learned over the
past few weeks that Jack Conway believes he can't win on the issues so
he'd prefer to question people's religious beliefs and launch false
attacks rather than discuss important issues like unemployment, the
economy, our debt, or Obamacare," he said in an e-mail.
Howard noted that police are investigating reports that a Paul supporter had her broken foot, which has a cast on it, stepped on by a Conway backer.
Profitt has been ordered to appear in court so a judge can decide whether or not he should face assault charges.
The Conway campaign also said Paul had not addressed the two other men who were involved, and hosted another man, 60-year-old Lexington attorney Michael Grossman, who claimed he was grabbed and shoved by a Paul supporter, but did not report the incident to police.
"We need to have the Paul campaign to answer some basic questions."
Collins also called on Paul to return the $2,500 in campaign donations he received from Profitt and a woman who, according to an FEC report, appears to be his wife.
-- This post was updated at 2:19 p.m.