Things took a turn for the ugly in the NY-26 election this week as the GOP released a video of Tea Party independent Jack Davis, who is competitive in the polls, appearing to threaten a Republican tracker while another man pushed him back.
“You want punched out? [sic]” Davis, 78, is heard saying on the 15 second clip after the cameraman asks him why he pulled out of Thursday’s debate against Republican candidate Jane Corwin and Democrat Kathy Hochul.
After that, a man accompanying Davis appears to violently shove the cameraman, who continues asking Davis why he backed out of the debate.
Video below the jump:
Republican officials are sending the tape to reporters, calling it evidence of an “assault” on their volunteer. Davis’ campaign manager, Curtis Ellis, claimed afterwards that the incident left out crucial footage showing the tracker striking Davis and that the candidate only pushed the camera out of his face.
“They’re at it again,” Ellis told local station WGRZ. “They’re harassing Jack. They’re getting in his face. … They are not bound by the rules of fair play, decency or even allegiance to the truth.”
Iraq veteran David Bellavia, who ran for the GOP nomination in the race before party leaders chose Corwin, endorsed Davis this week and defended his handling of the incident.
“GOP sent thugs to namecall and attack Jack Davis, even shoved his aide,” he said on Twitter. “Release both the uncut tapes Langworthy or you are a coward!”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.