A campaign canvasser for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was attacked and seriously injured Sunday night by an assailant who told him Republicans were not welcome in his neighborhood, Rubio and local police said Monday.
Javier Lopez, 25, of Hialeah, was arrested at the scene by officers who found the unidentified victim with cuts and bruises.
Hialeah police say the victim was distributing campaign materials in the Miami-area town when Lopez approached him and said “he was not allowed to walk on the sidewalk and hand out flyers. in his neighborhood.
The canvasser crossed the street to avoid Lopez, but Lopez followed him, officials added.
“Mr. Lopez then punched the victim multiple times in the face, causing injuries,” a police spokesperson said.
Rubio tweeted several photos of the victim, showing him bloodied and swollen in the back of an ambulance and in a hospital bed.
“Last night one of our canvassers was wearing my T-shirt and a [Gov. Ron] DeSantis hat was brutally attacked by 4 animals who told him Republicans weren’t allowed in their neighborhood in #Hialeah #Florida,” Rubio tweeted. “He has suffered internal bleeding, a broken jaw and will need reconstructive facial surgery.”
The senator also addressed the attack at a campaign event in Hialeah on Monday.
“I can tell you this: political violence should not be tolerated by anyone,” he told his audience, according to the Miami Herald. “On our side or on their side, we do not tolerate political violence. In this country, we decide who rules not by street mobs, we decide who rules by the ballot box.
Rubio seeks a third six-year term against Democratic challenger Rep. Val Demings.
An average of RealClearPolitics polls showed Rubio ahead of Demings by six percentage points.
New York Post