A staff member from the Kentucky Democratic Party was roughed up at an Andy Barr campaign event in Lexington on Wednesday night.
The young staffer, who was serving as a “tracker,” was at the event to get video of Barr as he arrived at the event. He was standing on the sidewalk outside the home of Louis Hillenmeyer, a Lexington businessman, who was hosting the publicly-advertised fundraiser.
The staffer was waiting to take the video of Barr, when he heard Mr. Hillenmeyer talking about him with the Barr staff. As noted by the statement from KDP:
Hillenmeyer can be heard asking if he should shoot the KDP employee as Barr campaign staffers laugh. Hillenmeyer then approached the KDP employee who was standing on a public sidewalk and escalated the situation.
After telling the staffer that he (Hillenmeyer) wants the staffer to leave, Hillenmeyer then threatens to call the police. The staffer says that he is on public property, where he has a right to be. Hillenmeyer then tries to grab the camera, and made physical contact with the staffer. At that point, the staffer backed away.
Here is the video as filmed by the staffer. The KDP staff added the captions and enhanced the audio at the beginning, but did not otherwise edit the video.
KDP issued a statement about the incident:
“The race for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District is one of the most high-profile races of the 2018 cycle, and it’s clear Andy is feeling the heat, but that’s no excuse for his supporters to harass and rough up one of our staffers” said Marisa McNee, deputy executive director of the KDP. “Andy Barr may think he’s entitled to this seat, but voters know they deserve better than his negative campaign and intimidation tactics.”
KDP is also discussing whether to file a police report, but have not done so at this time.
We reached out to the Andy Barr campaign for a statement, but have not heard back from them. If we do, we will update this story.
UPDATE: Mr. Hillenmeyer apologized on Friday evening, according to the Courier-Journal. “I obviously overreacted. I wish I could apologize to that kid because he was doing what he had to do and I was doing what I thought was right.”