Politics & Policy

Paul, Conway Supporters Act Violently Before Debate

Before last night’s Kentucky senate debate, there were at least two violent incidents, including a Rand Paul supporter who stepped on the shoulder and head of MoveOn.org activist Lauren Valle who had been thrown to the ground, and a Jack Conway supporter who stepped on the foot of a Paul supporter who had recently had foot surgery.

Valle was trying to present Paul with a “RepubliCorp” award, a satirical honor MoveOn.org gives to GOP candidates who have received donations from corporations. Before she was able to reach Paul, Valle was thrown to the ground by several Paul supporters. Her blonde wig was yanked off and a man started stomping on her neck and head, while in the background people shout “Get the police,” and one man said, “No, no, no. Come on.”

“We think it’s very unfortunate that incidents like this happened and one thing that’s made America so great is the fact, that despite passionate difference on issues, we keep our discourse civil and non-violent and we are committed to keeping this campaign about issues and keeping it civil and we call on both sides to make sure events like that don’t happen again,” Paul campaign manger Jesse Benson told Battle ’10.

“We want everyone to be civil,” said Paul in a Fox News interview this morning. “When we arrived there was enormous passion on both sides and it really was something where you walked into a daze of lights flashing, people yelling and screaming, bumping up, and it was a bit of a crowd control problem.”

“It’s an unusual situation to have so many people, so passionate on both sides, jockeying back and forth and it wasn’t something that I liked or anybody liked about that situation,” he added. “So I hope in the future it’s going to be better.”

GOP sources tell Battle ’10 that Valle had earlier approached Paul and nearly hit him in the head with a sign she was carrying, and suggested that supporters may have been concerned about her approaching Paul again. Other Conway supporters had encircled Paul’s car earlier, and the whole atmosphere was very heated, particularly among Conway supporters, reported the GOP operative.

Valle, who was arrested for vandalizing a ship in May, said, “I have a bit of a headache,” following the attack.

Before the debate, a Paul supporter also had her foot stepped on by a Conway supporter. “The woman was wearing a surgical boot, but after the injury, her incision was cut open. Police say she refused medical treatment and also filed an assault report,” reported the Kentucky Post.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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