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Oct 26, 2010 1:23 PM

Candidates Comment After Rand Paul Supporter Steps On Woman's Head At Debate

(AP) - A liberal activist in a blonde wig was wrestled to the ground and had her head stepped on by a Rand Paul supporter when she tried to confront the Republican U.S. Senate candidate and tea party favorite with a fake award.

Lauren Valle, a 23-year-old activist with the group MoveOn.org, said she was sore and swollen Tuesday morning after she scuffled with Paul supporters.

"I think that this is an extreme example of the kinds of sentiments that people are feeling in many races across the country," Valle said. "I think that tension is incredibly high."

Valle was roughed up before Monday night's debate between Paul and Democrat Jack Conway. The race is one of the most closely watched and hotly contested in the midterm elections.

Valle told Louisville TV station WDRB she was trying to give Paul a fake "employee of the month" award.

Video recorded by WDRB shows Valle's blonde wig being pulled off before she's pinned to the ground. A man then pushes his foot down on her head. Valle said her face was swollen and her neck and shoulder were sore.

A police watch commander said Tuesday that she didn't know if any arrests were made.

Paul's campaign released a statement calling the altercation "incredibly unfortunate" and expressed relief that the woman was not injured.

"Violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse, and we urge supporters on all sides to be civil to one another as tensions rise heading toward this very important election," the statement said.

Conway said he was shocked to see the video footage.

"We can disagree on issues, and I don't know what preceded the incident, but physical violence by a man against a woman must never be tolerated," Conway said in a statement. "It is my hope that steps have been taken to ensure this kind of thuggish behavior never happens again in this campaign."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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