TOWN OF GREECE, N.Y. -- Just after receiving the endorsement of former 26th District Candidate David Bellavia, Tea Party Candidate Jack Davis was caught on camera during an altercation with a volunteer from the Republican Party.
Watch the incident and our 11 p.m. coverage in the video player
The Erie County GOP sent out a chain e-mail that read, "At a campaign event tonight in Greece, NY, congressional candidate Jack Davis assaulted a Republican volunteer. Video is located at the youtube link below."
In the 14-second video, Davis is heard saying "You want punched out?" He then appeared to push the video camera. The photographer can be heard gasping, but it's unclear if he was actually touched. The photographer repeatedly asks Davis why he pulled out of the debate, referring to 2 On Your Side's forum scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m. Davis was scheduled to attend but backed out Wednesday evening.
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.
As Davis drove away, the young man yelled to 2 On Your Side's Michael Wooten and said, "Michael, did you see him hit me?"
Within about 20 minutes of the incident, 2 On Your Side received an email from the Corwin campaign, and a short time later, another Republican source contacted our newsroom. Both asked if we were aware of the "altercation."
2 On Your Side has requested from both the Corwin campaign and the Erie County GOP that they release the entire video (not just the 14-second clip) and the video from the female photographer. Neither has returned our requests. Davis' campaign asserts that this was an orchestrated setup by Republicans.
"They're at it again," Curtis Ellis, Davis campaign spokesperson, said. "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 said Davis never touched the volunteer and instead pushed the camera "out of his face." Ellis also alleged the volunteer actually struck the candidate.
Bellavia said on his Twitter account late Wednesday, "Release both the uncut tapes Langworthy or you are a coward!"