Rand Paul’s national political director, John Yob is alleging that Marco Rubio’s deputy campaign manager, Rich Beeson punched him in a Michigan bar on Thursday night. GOP campaign staffers have congregated on Mackinac Island for a biennial Republican Leadership Conference, where Senator Rand Paul will be one of the speakers. The incident took place at Horn’s Bar.
On Friday morning, Yob posted on his Facebook page:
Last night I went to a bar on Mackinac Island for the GOP Mackinac Conference. I ran into a guy named Rich Beeson, who frankly I didn’t even know who it was at first because he isn’t relevant in our political world. Anyway, he is Marco Rubio’s national campaign manager (sic). He literally physically assaulted me by punching me in the face. The state police are looking for him. I have it on video, from multiple angles. This will play out in the national media in the next few hours.
At this stage, details of the incident are fairly limited, as the Mackinac Island Police Department will not comment on the alleged assault, which is still under investigation. Beeson worked for the Mitt Romney campaign in 2012.
Brandon Hall, a blogger who writes for the West Michigan Politics web site, reported that he witnessed the alleged assault, and that from his perspective, it appeared to be unprovoked. An unnamed source reportedly said that the altercation was based on a personality dispute between the two men, and that the fight was personal rather than political.
This is not the first time rival GOP aides have made the news for physical altercations this cycle. When Kim Davis was released from jail in Rowan County, Kentucky, a Mike Huckabee aide physically blocked Texas Senator Ted Cruz from sharing the stage with Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee. Of course, no punches were thrown during that exchange.
Bar room altercations are relatively common place, and even if the combatants are political operatives, the skirmish may not have been political in nature. Nevertheless, the fact that Republican campaign aides can’t seem to play well with others is not good publicity for the Rubio or Paul campaigns. However, given how invisible both those campaigns have become, perhaps bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.