A Democrat state representative in Arkansas has come under scrutiny after he angrily cursed at, encroached upon and made physical contact with his female Republican challenger for a state senate seat following a candidate forum Tuesday evening.
Democrat State Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville was caught on video from multiple angles as he angrily confronted his Republican opponent, Dawn Clemence, at the conclusion of the event after she had called him out from the stage over his record in office.
The Daily Wire reported that Leding initially approached the stage and began to point his finger at Clemence, prior to hoisting himself up on stage and getting right in the woman’s face, towering over her and invading her personal space, shifting to block her attempts to create more space and ultimately placing a heavy hand on her shoulder prior to exiting the side of the stage.
Caught on video
A video posted to Facebook by the Republican Party of Arkansas showed the incident from one angle, though the background noise in the crowded room rendered the conversation between Leding and Clemence impossible to hear.
The “aggressive behavior” was also captured on camera from a different angle and was posted to Twitter by Republican State Sen. Trent Garner, who noted, “As you can see, he keeps moving into her personal space and aggressively hits her shoulder when she stands up to him.”
Another video of Democrat State Representative Greg Leding’s aggressive behavior toward Dawn. As you can see, he keeps moving into her personal space and aggressively hits her shoulder when she stands up to him. #arpx #arleg #ARNews #ARSenate pic.twitter.com/QZKyeDb2pC
— Trent Garner For Senate (@Garner4Senate) October 24, 2018
A follow-up tweet from Garner showed a picture of the notes Clemence wrote immediately after the incident occurred, detailing how Leding had cursed at and threatened her.
Apology and condemnation
The Arkansas Times reported that Leding apologized afterward: “My opponent called out to me from the stage. So she wouldn’t have to lean down to talk, I joined her on the stage. I apologize for patting her shoulder as we parted.”
He later expanded upon that to again issue an apology and explained, “I was frustrated, but it’s not acceptable to act on that. I apologize to Mrs. Clemence.”
The Daily Wire reported that Clemence essentially rejected Leding’s apology and responded, “When you encroached on my personal space, pointed your finger in my face, and placed your hands on me, you demeaned the office you currently hold and the one in which you seek.” Even the chair of the state Democratic Party, Michael John, criticized Leding’s behavior as “unacceptable” and beneath the higher standards of the state party.
Democrats like to portray themselves as the party that cares for and protects women, but in reality that only applies to women who hold liberal views. Conservative Republican women are apparently fair game for intimidation and threats, as evidenced by this incident.