Andy Parrish apologizes for slapping MNGOP activist after allegedly calling him "cream puff"

Kolb (left) was on the receiving end of Parrish's slaps and verbal abuse.

Kolb (left) was on the receiving end of Parrish's slaps and verbal abuse.

Think politics isn't a contact sport? Think again.

At the MNGOP convention in Rochester over the weekend, Julianne Ortman's campaign to secure her party's endorsement for the U.S. Senate race against Al Franken crashed and burned quicker than you can say "McFadden." Unsurprisingly, that development was a bitter disappointment to Ortman's campaign manager, our old friend Andy Parrish.

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But the surprise was just how hard Parrish took Ortman's defeat. So hard, in fact, that he ended up allegedly calling a MNGOP activist who supported McFadden a "cream puff" before repeatedly slapping him in the face.

The activist on the receiving end of Parrish's slaps was Jeff Kolb, who tells us this morning that while he was "open to the idea of supporting Julianne Ortman in the beginning," he "quickly soured on that because of the campaign strategy."

After Ortman was eliminated from contention late Friday night, Kolb, sitting in the press area, saw Parrish walking around the convention floor.

"I thought that was interesting because Ortman had not officially withdrawn when she went out to give her speech," Kolb says. "The speculation was that if there was no endorsement she was looking for a loophole to jump back in, so I was curious what Parrish was doing and watching him to see why he was in the hall because after his candidate was eliminated there wasn't a reason for him to be there."

"He walked over and I smiled and nodded at him," Kolb continues. "He leaned over and got in my face and called me a 'fucking cream puff.' I said, 'Excuse me?' He said, 'You fucking cream puff, you're a real Twitter tough guy... you're the biggest tough guy I've ever met.' I stood up, got face-to-face with him, and he continued with the insults and things like that, and I told him, 'If you're trying to get me to hit you or something I'm not going to do that,' and he said, 'What are you going to do about it?' I said, 'Turn around and tweet out that we just had a really bizarre conversation,' and at that point he reached out and gave me a slap in the face and did it two more times."

A crowd quickly formed and split the two up.

"I just said, 'Sorry your candidate lost, Andy,' and he continued to yell," Kolb says.

An official subsequently removed Parrish from the floor of the convention. Kolb then tweeted about what just happened:
-- Jeff Kolb (@jpkolb) May 31, 2014 Kolb's can't-make-it-up story even launched a Twitter meme: Parrish later offered up an apology, which Kolb accepted: But that wasn't the last bizarre interaction Kolb would have with Parrish over the weekend.

(For more, click to page two.)

"I ran into [Parrish] in the hall the next morning and we had a bizarre conversation where he told me I was all right and asked if I'd take a selfie with him and post it online," Kolb says. "I declined, and he said, 'Okay, I get that.' He walked off and I haven't seen him since."

Kolb blogs about Republican politics, and he acknowledges specifically criticizing Parrish, who used to work as Michele Bachmann's chief of staff, a couple of times in the months leading up to the convention.

"I did write a blog post where I mentioned him by name and called out what I felt was his unseemly salary for a campaign manager running a campaign where they didn't have much money," Kolb says. "I also said that I understand why Andy Parrish is trying to turn [Ortman] into Michele Bachmann because that's what he knows how to do. It's fair to say I've been critical of Parrish and his campaign style generally."

Still, Kolb characterizes the cursing-out and slapping as "definitely one of the stranger experiences I've had at a convention."

"It almost seemed as if he was looking for someone to take it out on," Kolb says. "But he's kind of a weirdo."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]