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GOP releases video of operative harassing Jack Davis, getting 'assaulted'

The big overnight news in the NY-26 special election race to replace Shirtless Chris Lee is a video posted by the Erie County GOP that purports to show Jack Davis and an aide assaulting a person with a video camera.

Watch the video yourself and decide -- Did Jack Davis hit the camera operator or just shove the camera out of his face? 

Nick Langworthy freely admits that the camera operator works for the GOP, telling the New York Daily News, "[A] Young Republican volunteer [was] just asking Davis after his event why he pulled out of the debate. Other than that, I guess the video speaks for itself. Davis certainly does not have the temperament to serve in Congress if he can't handle tough questions from a tracker."

Shortly after the video was released, David Bellavia, who earlier endorsed registered Republican Davis, posted on his Twitter account, "GOP sent thugs to name-call and attack Jack Davis, even shoved his aide. Release both the uncut tapes Langworthy or you are a coward!"

WHEC posted a written statement from the Jack Davis campaign:

"Producers of this theatrical video have no respect for the truth. They lie about their own record. They lie about Jack Davis' record. Now they're fabricating an incident to distract us from their own failed policies that destroyed our economy and outsourced our jobs. This is the Blair Witch Project of video sensationalism. We see shaky camera moves and bad sound effects trying to make something out of nothing. The producers of this film will do anything to prevent Jack Davis from getting to Washington."

It's apparently not the first time a GOP operative has dogged Davis at a campaign event that provoked a response from Davis.

This event reminds me of a time during the 2008 campaign when I showed up at a GOP rally at Lewiston and West Main (where Clor's is now located) with my video camera with the intent of interviewing Chris Lee. Nick Langworthy wouldn't let me use a video camera. He said he feared the video falling into the hands of the Democrats and being spliced in a way that it could embarrass Lee.

UPDATE: WGRZ has a pretty full report. The significant revelation is that the Erie County GOP had two volunteers with cameras, so not only should there be an unedited version available from the first camera, but also an unedited version from the second camera, which will show a wider angle and more of what actually happened. I wonder if Nick Langworthy will release those tapes?

I can't get the WGRZ video to embed right, so here's a link to it.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has an item well worth reading: Who is Jack Davis? It covers the good, the bad and the ugly.

Dave Olsen
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Howard, your last 3 sentences say it all for me. Also, I get so irritated by politicians and their spokespeople and operatives constantly using words like, fight, battle, tooth and nail, tirelessly to describe some d-bag politician's efforts. They're a bunch of pussies " Young Republican volunteer [was] just asking Davis after his event why he pulled out of the debate....." A young guy gets in Davis' face and then gets shoved by a 78 year old man. Buck up Bucko. Davis is plainly a cantankerous old man not accustomed to being argued with. So what, he won't be alone. There is no perfect candidate, just as there is no perfect human being. I'm with David Bellavia, this is a dirty trick, the camera guy was probably only going to get paid if he got Davis upset.
Lorie Longhany
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Nick Langworthy's campaign style of sequestering his candidate while dogging his opponent is a colossal fail. He thinks the people of this district are naive enough to fall for this? Expecting the good people of this district to just jump on board with the exact same make and model as Chris Lee (empty, millionaire,self funder) Only this time they've stepped up the game by rolling out Jane's inflated resume (creating jobs at age 8), kicking a war hero to the curb, Nancy Pelosi and more Nancy Pelosi, and now trying to insight Jack Davis for a few edited snippets to try and stop the hemorrhage. I'm no Jack Davis fan, but come on. This is ridiculous and shows extreme desperation. Is this all they have left? Voters aren't going to like this.
bud prevost
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People, we need moderation from all sides: political, economic, and spiritual. The common theme, among all 3,is the extreme polarization on either side, leaving an ever growing vast chasm in between. Politically, the GOP/Tea party are moving further apart from the Democrats, even though it looked promising in December that they would work together. Economically, the disparity between the rich and the poor is alarmingly huge. What happened to the middle class? Seems to me the Kings and lords are getting more and more, and we peasants are paying out the ass in taxes, food, gas, etc. And spiritually, which is every bit as important in life as money, it appears fewer and fewer live by a moral guideline, and are out only for themselves, and the now. The anger that subliminally lingers daily in our lives has to go. We really need to come together, be civil and respectful, and solve the problems. Seems to me we're just pouring gas on the fire with all the bullshit.
George Richardson
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"Is this all they have left?" Do you mean "left" like left wing socialist anti Americanism? Was the camera guy dressed as a pimp? I would be embarrassed to have my great grandpa bitch slap me, because I deserved it, but I wouldn't cry like a little baby boy. (Too bad Jack didn't have a stun device, now that would have been funny.) FOX NEWS EXCLUSIVE! Here is Karl Rove to set the narrative: "Oh no, this is bad, bad, bad." "Bite me Karl." -George Richardson, Austin, Texas.
Kyle Couchman
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I echo my comments from an earlier story here today, this bs is very obvious for what it is. All it does for me as a voter is want to vote for Jack just out of anger for their scumbag tactics. I'm seeing from repsonses here already that voters are gettin sick of it and seeing through the bs too.
Lori Silvernail
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I wish there was about 10 seconds more of this video. I'm sure the cameraman started crying for his Mommy. What a ridiculous video!
George Richardson
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Ow. I mean OOOOOWWWWWWWWWW! OOOOOWWWWW! OUCHIE OWWWWW!
Rex Lampke
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If Davis is a life long Republican like he says then why was he running as a Demorcat for those years? Even if he was provoked is no excuse to act like a 12 year old! It seems that for a long time now every election is not about who is the best for the job its about who will do the least harm to our great nation. This election is more of the same SHAME ON ALL OF THEM!
Gabor Deutsch
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George, maybe a little of this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHbPgDvAvf0&feature=related
kathie nichols
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Seems that the batavian has changed dramatically lately.I used to look forward to the up-to-the minute local news. Now everytime I check there are numerous articles on politics. Politics has taken over the site. I wonder if this is free campaigning or if the poiliticians are paying. I sure would like to see the old site back. We have to watch enough political garbage on TV.
C. M. Barons
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Are the GOP strategists FORMER Fox Television producers or are they hoping to BECOME Fox television producers? Either way- the cheap, low-brow, juvenile signature is apparent.
C. M. Barons
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Katie, just 12 more days and you can get your wish. If you can't wait, stage a steamy interlude in a park, semi-clothed visit to a drive-up window or free-for-all at a salad bar and attention will readily turn. Honestly, this isn't politics. If you want to see politics- turn on CSPAN. The reason you are disappointed, you are seeing the great experiment in popular government reduced to its lowest terms by hacks, posers, pimps and carnies.
Steve Ferrando
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This film clip is phonier than Pro Wrestling. The camera man is purported to be Corwins' Chief of Staff!! The "wimp" took a pratfall when Jack waved his hand at him. I doubt that any contact was made. I think that all of the violent action in the clip was created by the cameraman shaking his camera hand and then crying out in anguish like a two year old!!!!! What a poor excuse for a man. He should be ashamed of making an A@# of himself. Doesn't say much for Corwin and her already slip-shod campaign. Who are the republicans going to bring to Buffalo to take the heat off of this charade??? The senior George Bush??????????????
Chris Charvella
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"Wnymedia.Net is reporting on Facebook that the GOP operative is Jane Corwin's Assembly Chief of Staff Michael Mallia." Also reporting for real: http://wnymedia.net/buffalopundit/2011/05/corwin-and-the-ecgop-desperate... http://wnymedia.net/ccharvella/2011/05/davis-spokesman-calls-video-a-new...
Lorie Longhany
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Politico has this story and the national media is not painting a very rosy picture of team Corwin. http://www.politico.com/blogs/davidcatanese/0511/The_tracker_was_a_Corwi... The tracker was a Corwin staffer The man behind the camera tracking tea party candidate Jack Davis is a member of Assemblywoman Jane Corwin's staff, according to the chairman of the Erie County Republican Party. Buffalo's WBEN reports that chairman Nick Langworthy would not identify the man, but bloggers are pointing the finger at Corwin's chief of staff, Michael Mallia. "It was after hours in a capacity for the Republican Party," Langworthy said, declining to reveal the tracker's identity. Permitting Corwin's top legislative aide to confront and goad Davis raises larger questions about the strategic thinking and foresight of the GOP nominee's camp in the special election for a New York House seat. Why would the Corwin campaign allow a top staffer with ties to candidate -- rather than a college student or unaffiliated GOP volunteer -- to confront and provoke Davis? The entire incident overshadowed a Thursday morning debate between Corwin and Democrat Kathy Hochul, leading a local NBC reporter to follow Corwin to her car and press for answers about the tracker. Walking away from the reporter, Corwin denied any knowledge of a staffer's involvement and said she hadn't seen the video. "I don't know any of that. I went to sleep last night pretty early," she said, when asked if the photographer was a member of her staff. Meanwhile, the ever-escalating airwar continued Thursday with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee putting up a new ad that spends just as much time torching Davis as it does Corwin, accusing both of supporting "cutting benefits for seniors."
Mark Potwora
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Kathie Nichols..I have to agree..seems like all the Batavian is a place for Corwin,Davis and Hucul..to have all their BS printed..give us a break Howard..
Jeremiah Pedro
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C.M., Take it back!! You can't go around comparing carnies to politicians. The carnies are by far more honest.
C. M. Barons
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Regardless of one's personal take on any of the assorted 'characters' in this race for congress, this is the big story- local, statewide and national significance. Howard and The Batavian did an outstanding job presenting multiple perspectives of the good, bad and ugly- deserving high commendation, a benchmark in thoroughness, fairness and equal access. ...Unlike some glaring exceptions from outlets generically known as traditional media. Granted the saturation levels of press releases and paid advertising have surpassed the tests of tolerance and common sense, we have seen the finger-pointing, the charges of puppet/puppet master; the big guns are now rallying and the big money is flowing in. We can all witness the tell-tale quid pro quo as the PACs and Super PACs take the helm. Someone accused Hochul of being in Pelosi's pocket. I haven't seen Nancy in WNY. If Speaker Boner (SIC) was a cat, Corwin and everyone else he backed up to at Salvatore's Restaurant must be ripe with his pheromone spray.
C. M. Barons
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(Apologies to the carnies)
Jeff Allen
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This race has turned into a circus and casts yet more negative light on our area. Howard is right that the implications of this race ARE national and coverage for the next few days is important. That is why I am seriously asking people of like-minded conservatism or those just fed up with the process and shenanigans to write me in on Tuesday. If I get 5, 50, or 500 votes the point is to send a message to the establishment that we are tired of what is being shoved on us. This Tuesday write-in Jeff Allen.
Steve Roth
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Hey.....wait a minute...there's an ad for Jack Davis right across from where I'm typing this.... Maybe that's the reason for the coverage????
C. M. Barons
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Interesting strategy, Jeff, making this a five-way split... I'm surprised you didn't suggest David Bellavia as the inked-in alternative; he retains some momentum to draw on.
C. M. Barons
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Steve, Davis polls a solid 20% to the favorites' 30/30 with Murphy trailing at 2. I haven't tallied the column inches, but I see no case for asserting Howard tilts in favor of his advertiser. A more likely interpretation is that Davis recognizes a cache of voters less inclined to vote row A or B.
Lorie Longhany
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I can't imagine a local news outlet not covering this election. If it's being covered in Seattle, shouldn't it be covered where the results will actually impact us? The Daily News is also covering it. All the other local news outlets across the district are also covering. As well as every national outlet. What we get here that's different -- the actual candidate questions. It's been like a virtual forum. Unfortunately even yesterday's televised debate has been overshadowed by the inept Corwin campaign's desperate attempt to shut down Jack Davis at all costs. Pretty unbelievable that a state employed chief of staff to an assemblywoman was behind one of those cameras orchestrating that very bad piece of theater.
Ed Gentner
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If this is how Jane Corwin's chief of staff conducts himself during a campaign, how does Jane think he will act if she is elected elected? Either Jane Corwin is in control or she is not in control of her chief of staff who is on the taxpayers payroll. I have had the opportunity over the years to work for both Republican and Democratic politicians and the good ones always maintained a disciplined staff that was top down, with the chief of staff always acting with the knowledge and approval of their elected boss. It's when the staff goes off acting on it's own or engages in questionable activity to insure their candidate wins at any cost, there is trouble, think Watergate.
Jeff Allen
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C.M. mine is not a strategy, it is a stand against politics as usual. I was an ardent Bellavia write-in supporter until he endorsed Davis. People who decide to write me in will do so (I hope) for one of two reasons. 1. there is not a 100% pro-life, pro marriage candidate in the race and I am simply giving them a name of someone who is to write in. 2. as I have talked to people about this I find the "this election has become a circus, of course I'll write you in" side. I understand the nuances of vote splitting, but more important than that is standing on principle and not wavering for what is politically expedient. Selling out to get your party elected is not winning, it is compromising and I will not do it. On May 24th write in Jeff Allen
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