- John Yob, the national political director of Rand Paul's presidential campaign, has publicly accused Marco Rubio's deputy campaign manager Rich Beeson of punching him in the face at a Michigan bar Thursday night.
Here is a video of the incident:
Via Yob, here's the video of the alleged punch pic.twitter.com/jsZIVqhstO— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 18, 2015
- Blogger Brandon Hall of West Michigan Politics writes that he witnessed the punch and that Beeson "suddenly, out of nowhere" approached Yob "unprovoked" and threw a punch. "Beeson missed a full on shot but still struck Yob’s in the face with a powerful blow near the jaw," Hall writes.
- Beeson hasn't given his side of the story yet, but Jonathan Oosting of MLive.com writes that according to one anonymous source, "the incident was personal, not political."
- The alleged incident occurred at Horn's Gaslight Bar & Restaurant on Mackinac Island. The staffers are on the island to whip votes for a presidential straw poll at this weekend's Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.
Rubio and Paul are both hoping to get media attention by winning the Mackinac straw poll
The Mackinac straw poll has never been viewed as a particularly important event in the GOP nomination contest — Michigan isn't an early voting state, and the contest tends to be a low turnout affair (just 526 people voted in 2013, the last time it was conducted).
Still, it is an event where a clear "winner" will be declared based on votes, rather than media attention. So six candidates — Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich — will visit the island over the next two days in hopes of drumming up support and potential buzz from a victory. (Rubio isn't coming.)
Paul in particular has hoped that his organizational strength and motivated libertarian supporters will help him win lower-turnout events like this. Indeed, Paul won the 2013 straw poll with 36 percent of the vote. Second place was Chris Christie, with 18 percent. But both of these candidates have since done poorly in the national contest.
Rubio was always an unlikely victor in this straw poll, since he's not going to the event like the other candidates. But, though we still have no idea what may have motivated the alleged incident between Yob and Beeson, it seems unlikely that these headlines will help Rubio's cause.