Lollar: Steny Hit Me in the Back, Twice

Video Does Not Demonstrate a Violent Encounter; Original Allegation is Somewhat Substantiated by Video; Hoyer Spokesperson Denies Either Incident Took Place

By David Noss

Video of the Lollar for Congress press conference on Tuesday where Charles Lollar addresses his allegation that Steny Hoyer threatened him last Wednesday. A new allegation that Hoyer "knuckle punched" him in the back starts at 4:55 in the video. (Video Source: Lollar Campaign)

CALIFORNIA, Md. (October 20, 2010)—On Monday Charles Lollar's campaign issued a press release stating incumbent Steny Hoyer said to Lollar, "I'm coming after you," and then repeated the words after Lollar dismissed them with a smile. Hoyer's spokesperson, Maureen Beach, denied the words were ever said. The alleged interchange occurred last Wednesday in Waldorf during the Charles County Chamber of Commerce candidate's forum.

Lollar held a press conference Tuesday in Bowie to discuss the incident, at which time a question from the audience brought forth another allegation. The questioner said he believed he had witnessed Hoyer make a "knuckle punch to your (Lollar's) back" and asked Lollar to confirm the incident. The man said he was sitting in the front videotaping the forum when he witnessed Hoyer make the aforementioned statement and the subsequent "punch."

Lollar spokesperson Patt Parker told today that she could not identify the person who posed the question, but believed he was a reporter from So. Maryland Today, formerly St. Mary's Today. According to their editor, she had several reporters at the press conference, but could not confirm if the man asking the question was theirs. The man was off camera.

"I could of swore, towards that end, just about shortly after he made that remark to you, that there was like a knuckle punch to your back. Were my eyes, am I that blind, did I make that up or was he, was he giving you kind of a goad there?" stated the questioner.

"You are not making that up," responded Lollar. "It was done not just once, but twice."

Hoyer Spokesperson Maureen Beach this evening told that the incident never happened. She refused to comment further for this story.

Lollar continued: "My concern with that is I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. And you would think that someone who would be seasoned and would have truth on their side, unless they don't have truth on their side, would not lend themselves to doing something like that."

"He realizes you're a Marine veteran, right?" was the response from the questioner.

"I think he does," responded Lollar. "In fact, If I were going to pick a fight with anyone, it wouldn't be a Marine, just between you and I." The response was met with laughter.

Lollar added that he had no ill feelings towards Hoyer. "I simply believe that sometimes you just have a tendency of staying in places too long. You feel betrothed to certain positions of power and you forget where you've come from," said Lollar.

Lollar said that Hoyer's actions towards him last week do not constitute a call to arms. "I'm not coming after Mr. Hoyer for hitting me in the back, or for telling me that he's coming after me. In fact, I look forward to it. Bring it on. I've never met a marine that didn't like a good fight."

The questioner closed his remarks, saying: "That does kind of take the campaign down a notch or two then. I mean, as opposed to staying with the issues, and may the best man win, it seems like in a public forum you don't resort to that kind of childish 'Tom Foolery.'"

"I agree, I agree," said Lollar. "You would certainly think that my opponent would certainly know the difference. I would hope that when a lot of those that support my opponent, they would at least talk to him about that, and help him to understand that no matter how frustrated you get, you shouldn't put your hands on another person. You should keep your comments as mature and your actions as mature as possible."

This video, released by the Lollar campaign, shows the last few minutes of the Hoyer/Lollar portion of the candidate forum last Wednesday where Hoyer allegedly threatened Lollar. The interchange begins at 4:38.  No words can be heard, but the video supports the allegation to a certain degree.  The punching allegation appears less serious on video than described at the press conference.

The Lollar campaign posted video of the end of last Wednesday's forum on YouTube. The alleged threat can not be heard on the video. The men were sharing one microphone which Lollar had placed down on the table after he was finished speaking. However, at 4:38 in the video, Hoyer can be seen turning his head towards Lollar, without looking right at him and speaking several words. When Hoyer finished the sentence, Lollar smiles, as described in the campaign's Monday press release. Hoyer then turns to look directly at him and speaks some more, as Lollar continues to look straight ahead. There is no positive expression on Hoyer's face during this interchange. Lollar looks surprised, nods his head and turns away from Hoyer. Hoyer subsequently appears to run his tongue between his top teeth and upper lip.

The video is not conclusive to completely substantiate Lollar's claims. However, the video is close and clear enough, that a lip reading expert may be able to discern Hoyer's remarks.

As the moderator concludes his remarks, Hoyer and Lollar stand, exchange some words and shake hands. Lollar walks off to his right, followed by Hoyer. Starting at 5:12 in the video, Hoyer's right hand can be seen making contact with the middle of Lollar's back. However, there is no way to tell how much force was used. Lollar can be seen smiling before, during, and after the contact with Hoyer, and he did not turn, slow, or change direction after contact was made.

Updated 10/20/2010 @ 7:45 p.m. to incorporate comments from Maureen Beach, Hoyer spokesperson.

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