The Erie County Republican Party released a video Wednesday night that appears to show Jack Davis, a candidate running for congress in the special election in western New York, hitting a man identified as a Republican volunteer. Davis is an independent candidate running on the ‘Tea Party’ line.
In the 15-second clip, the volunteer, who seems to be holding a camera and filming the incident repeatedly asks Davis, “Why did you back out of the debate?” referring to the candidates debate held Thursday morning, which Davis announced he would not participate in.
Davis asks the man, “You want punched out?” and pushes the camera.
In response, the man yelps loudly, and stumbles dramatically, despite the fact that it doesn’t look like Davis has hit him. Davis walks away, laughing. A man with Davis goes up to the man and either hits him or the camera – whatever he does is not caught on the camera but the volunteer yells “ow.”
The local NBC affiliate, WGRZ 2 says it at had a crew there. According to their accounting of events, “2 On Your Side was the only crew still at the event when the altercation between Davis and the volunteer took place. There were actually two volunteers. In addition to the young man who claims he was “assaulted”, a young girl was several yards back also recording the scene. 2 On Your Side observed the volunteer sticking the camera in Davis’ face and blocking him from leaving. We did not see the physical contact.”
They quoted Davis’ spokesperson, Curtis Ellis, saying, “They’re at it again. “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.”
Ellis also told them that Davis never laid a hand on the volunteer, merely “pushed the camera ‘out of his face.’”
Davis has gained a fair amount of traction in the race, threatening what was expected to be an easy victory for Corwin in a strongly Republican district.