"He literally physically assaulted me by punching me in the face": Rand Paul staffer attacked by Marco Rubio deputy campaign manager in Michigan bar

The police refused to comment, but Paul's staffer is already calling for Rubio's to be fired


Scott Eric Kaufman
September 18, 2015 7:58PM (UTC)

(Updated. See below.)

Michigan staffers for Marco Rubio and Rand Paul engaged in a round of drunken fisticuffs on the eve of the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, The Detroit Free Press' Paul Egan reports.

John Yob, the chief Michigan strategist for the Rand Paul campaign, said that he was at Horn's Bar late Thursday evening when Rich Beeson, the deputy campaign manager for Rubio, attacked him.

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"I ran into a guy named Rich Beeson," Yob wrote on Facebook, "who frankly I didn't even know who it was at first because he isn't relevant in our political world. 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."

Yob later called for Rubio to fire Beeson immediately.

A spokesperson for the Mackinac Island Police Department refused to speak on the record about the incident, saying that the official response would be "No comment" until the chief of police arrives at the station.

UPDATE: The Guardian acquired footage of the incident, which appears to confirm Yob's account of being sucker-punched by Beeson.

Mackinac Island police chief Brett Riccinto told the Guardian that "it wasn't a brawl, if anything, it was a shove. Literally, it was a shove." He did, however, say that an assault complaint had been made, and that it has been sent to the prosecutor to determine whether charges would be filed against Beeson.

The Guardian also learned that Yob texted Rubio's campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, shortly after the incident: "Hey man you better wake up. Beeson punched me in the face. Cops involved." Sullivan thought it was a joke, and later apologized for not taking it seriously when received it.

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Yob released a statement, saying that "I appreciate Terry Sullivan’s change of heart this morning on the assault by his staff member and it is understandable that he would have initially thought that this was too crazy to actually be true. The Rubio campaign is not to blame. Today I hope that he and Senator Rubio will take action on this matter as the state police investigate."


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Elections 2016 John Yob Marco Rubio Rand Paul Rich Beeson

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