Tensions boiled over as protesters threw punches at Democratic California Rep. Katie Porter’s district town hall in Irvine, California, Sunday, leading the representative to intervene in the scuffle.
A group of protesters arrived at Porter’s town hall at the Mike Ward Community Park and interrupted her speech chanting “Carpetbagger Katie!” and “Corrupt Katie Porter!” the Los Angeles Times reported. Her supporters retaliated by chanting “Katie! Katie! Katie!” or screaming “Shut up!” at the demonstrators, followed by the supporters and protesters throwing punches at one another.
Porter rushed into the scuffle and wrapped her arms around an elderly woman, according to the outlet. (RELATED: Poll: Americans Across Racial Lines Solidly Against Violent Protest, Support Peaceful Protests)
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The scuffle followed Republican candidate Nick Taurus, hoping to replace Porter, inviting his supporters Thursday via Instagram to attend the town hall in order to “confront” Porter, who he referred to as a “far-left ideologue.”
“Katie Porter is a far-left ideologue supported by Bay Area academics, the billionaire class and foreign lobbies!” Taurus’ Instagram post wrote. “Her America Last policies are awful for the 45th district and we intend to voice our displeasure. Please join the Taurus campaign this Sunday at 2:30PM to demand AMERICA BE PUT FIRST and send Carpetbagger Katie back to the Iowa farm she came from!”
The Irvine Police Department described a person’s arrest after causing a man’s nose to bleed in a statement, according to CNN. The suspect was released on a citation shortly after the arrest.
“Our officers were on scene for the event. There were opposing opinions at the town hall. It got heated and punches were thrown. One man received a bloody nose. The suspect was arrested, given a citation and released from the scene. The assault occurred at about 3:45 p.m.,” the statement said.
Sgt. Karie Davies said a handful of participants in the scuffle were reportedly charged with assault and battery charges, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Porter and her team are seeking strategies to ensure a “civil” and “safe” way to express disagreements at future town halls, she told CNN in a statement.
“While I absolutely respect their right to disagree, their disturbance disrespected all the families who attended and were ready to engage in a thoughtful, civil, and safe way,” Porter said. “My team and I are evaluating next steps, but my promise to Orange County families is that I will continue to hold town halls and to be in conversation with them.”
Porter has become a target amongst Republicans after defeating former Republican California Rep. Mimi Walters during the 2018 congressional midterm election, making her the first Democrat to represent her district, Business Insider reported. She won reelection by seven points while President Joe Biden claimed victory in the district by more than 11 points during the 2020 election.
The GOP reportedly plans to use her as a target during the 2022 midterm election, according to the Los Angeles Times. Torunn Sinclair, spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), called out Porter for her “socialist agenda.”
“Katie Porter and Democrats’ socialist agenda has caused everyday goods to cost more, created a border crisis and led to a rise in violent crime,” Sinclair said. “It will cost her reelection.”