A top official for Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations MORE (R-Ky.) is accusing a rival staffer with Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRepublicans would need a promotion to be 'paper tigers' Defense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' 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.
“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.
Via Yob, here's the video of the alleged punch pic.twitter.com/jsZIVqhstO— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 18, 2015
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.
“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.