A donor to U.S. Rep. Andy Barr physically confronted a staffer for the Kentucky Democratic Party outside a Lexington event Wednesday evening for the Republican congressman.
The staffer, who the Democratic Party declined to identify, was standing on a sidewalk while recording video outside the event hosted by Louis Hillenmeyer.
The video, described by the party Thursday in a news release and posted on YouTube, starts focused on the ground while a man’s voice is heard asking if he should shoot the staffer or set his dogs on him. Then it shows Hillenmeyer approach the staffer and tell him to leave. When the staffer stays put, Hillenmeyer grabs the camera.
“If you break that, that’s assault sir,” the staffer said.
“I don’t care,” Hillenmeyer responded. “I will break it. I want you out of here. Go. Go. Get.”
A spokeswoman for the Barr campaign declined to comment, referring the Herald-Leader to Hillenmeyer.
Hillenmeyer said the Democratic staffer had a belligerent tone and that he was recording the guests as they entered the event.
“I put my hand up on his camera because he was filming my guests and he made them uncomfortable,” Hillenmeyer said.
The Democratic Party said the event was a fundraiser, but Hillenmeyer said it was a party and Barr was the special guest. Hillenmeyer said Barr did not ask for any money at the event.
An invitation from the event called it a “fundraising reception” and said it cost a minimum of $250 to attend.
Hillenmeyer, who was a member of Barr’s exploratory committee when Barr first considered running for Congress, has donated at least $13,100 to Barr’s campaigns since 2010. Hillenmeyer previously owned Louis’ Flower Power Shop in Lexington before he sold it four years ago and is no longer affiliated with the business.
“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.
McNee said the party is discussing whether to file a police report about the altercation.
The staffer is a tracker, or someone who follows a political candidate with a video camera, hoping to catch them in an unflattering moment. He has been following Barr for around three months, McNee said.
“They tend to harass him,” McNee said. “This is the first time he’s been touched by anyone.”
Barr is in the midst of a tough re-election battle against Democratic candidate Amy McGrath. Democrats have targeted Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District as a key seat that could help them gain control of Congress in November.