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Marco Rubio staffer takes swing at Rand Paul aide at bar before Michigan GOP summit

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Presidential politics can be all fun and games; that is, until someone starts throwing punches.

As Republicans gathered for a GOP leadership conference on Mackinac Island, Mich., this weekend, a fight broke out at a local bar between a campaign official for Rand Paul and a staffer for rival presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

At one point in the evening, reports Chad Livengood of the Detroit News, John Patrick Yob, Rand Paul’s chief Michigan strategist and national political director, took a punch from Rich Beeson, Rubio’s deputy political director.

Rubio will not be at the conference, but staff and supporters will, including TV star Rick Harrison of the History Channel reality show “Pawn Stars.”

Beeson is a longtime political operative who served as a former national director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign.

Among the witnesses to the attack was Grand Haven-based blogger Brandon Hall; he posted about the fight at Horn’s Gaslight Bar, a popular Mackinac Island pub.

“As I was sitting at the bar talking to someone at Horn’s in Mackinac Island Thursday night, I witnessed (the man) suddenly, out of nowhere, approach one of Rand Paul’s advisers, John Yob — unprovoked — and try to hit him,” Hall noted on his blog, West Michigan Politics. “(He) missed a full on shot but still struck Yob’s in the face with a powerful blow near the jaw.”

Campaign officials were there to promote the Florida senator in the presidential straw poll at the conference.

Hall said that Beeson appeared drunk while he “wrangled” Republicans to vote for Rubio.

“It’s probably not a good idea to be a loud-mouth drunk about it, and go sucker punch John Yob,” Hall later told the News. “That’s probably not the best straw poll strategy.”

According to the event schedule, Jeb Bush will be keynote speaker Friday evening. Five more presidential candidates will speak on Saturday.

Police have not commented on the scuffle.

Here is a video of the incident from Zeke Miller of TIME Magazine:

Yob also took to Facebook on the incident:

yob_copy paul_rubio fighting

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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