A Chris McDaniel supporter and erstwhile Tishomingo County campaign chairman was arrested following the U.S. Senate candidate’s town hall meeting in Tupelo Monday night in Lee County according to the Clarion-Ledger. A Kentucky man claimed he was assaulted by Mario Barnes, who was later arrested for public intoxication. Barnes is currently listed on the Chris McDaniel website as the Tishomingo County Chair.
Campaign spokesman Tanner Watson told the Clarion-Ledger that Barnes was no longer the chairman.
“He hasn’t been with the campaign for well over a month,” said Watson. “He was never employed, it was on a volunteer basis.”
According to Watson, Josh McNatt is the current Tishomingo County Chair.
“Josh McNatt stepped up, he showed interest in the position,” said Watson. “He was vetted, to show that he was of good, upstanding character, and then he got the position.”
The county campaign chair is a strictly voluntary job in the campaign. Watson said that previously, Barnes was serving as an interim county campaign chair until someone else showed interest. Barnes was no longer in the position following McNatt being named the Tishomingo county chair.
However, no official posting of his removal has been made on McDaniel’s campaign website and the March 19th press release naming Barnes as campaign chair has not been redacted or altered.
Lance Acton posted in a form on the Cindy Hyde-Smith website detailing the event.
In the accusation, Acton said after meeting McDaniel, one of “his people” came downstairs and assaulted him apparently referring to Barnes. Acton also said that he was told assault charges had to be filed in person and that Tuesday he was going back to the hospital as he still felt dizzy.
“A guy who stands by me, shaking hands while taking pictures, seems to employ a man who assaults a random guy from Kentucky just here on work,” Acton wrote. “Doesn’t even call to see if I’m okay, that’s who you’re running against.”
According to the Facebook page Lee County MS Inmates, Barnes was charged with drinking in public, a misdemeanor, and fined $300.00.
Barnes is also a contributor for the blog The Treadknot Chronicles.
He has shown enthusiastic support for the US senatorial candidate, with his latest post on September 7 calling for President Trump to urge Cindy Hyde-Smith to debate McDaniel. Barnes is photographed at a McDaniel event within the last week.
This incident is on the heels of several highly publicized events involving supporters/staff close to McDaniel during his 2014 campaign.
In one instance, several of his campaign staff and supporters were locked into the Hinds County Courthouse in the wee hours of the night of the 2014 Republican primary.
In another, a supporter broke into a nursing home to capture Senator Thad Cochran’s ailing wife on video camera. He was later convicted.
Alan Lange contributed to this report.