by WorldTribune Staff, October 30, 2016
A Democratic candidate for the North Carolina House of Representatives “coldcocked” his Republican opponent during a confrontation at a local festival in Bladenboro.
A witness said Democrat Tim Benton had confronted Republican Brenden Jones at the annual Beast Fest in Bladenboro on Oct. 29, accusing Jones of being behind fliers linking Benton to a white supremacist group.
“Mr. Benton kept nudging him with his shoulder the whole time they were walking across (the street), and then he just stepped back a little and coldcocked him,” the witness told the Bladen Journal.
“To beat all, he (Benton) left a little child in a stroller to walk across the street, and if Mr. Jones’ (companion) hadn’t caught her, the child would have rolled into the street,” the witness added.
Benton and Jones are running for the North Carolina House of Representatives for District 46.
The North Carolina Republican Party filed criminal assault charges against Benton and called on the Democratic Party to remove Benton from the race.
“We are just thankful that Brenden Jones, his wife, and nine year old daughter, who were all with him at the time did not suffer serious injuries,” North Carolina GOP spokeswoman Kami Mueller said.
Jones posted the North Carolina Republican Party’s statement about the incident on his Facebook page, saying that he “did my best to defuse the situation.”
Neither Benton or the North Carolina Democratic party had any immediate comment on the incident.
According to a 1994 Fayetteville Observer article, Benton was accused of being involved in the distribution of Ku Klux Klan applications at a local school. Benton, then a middle school gym teacher and athletic director, said at the time that he was being targeted for supporting a local textile worker who was fired for refusing to remove a Confederate flag from his tool box.