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Witnesses: Rep. Martin Daniel accused of shoving challenger during Knoxville radio interview

Published: Jul. 22, 2016 at 1:48 AM EDT
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A live radio interview between four state House of Representative candidates got heated Thursday after witnesses said Rep. Martin Daniel became angry and shoved challenger Steve Hall.

Hall has since filed a simple assault report against Daniel. You can read the latest developments with that here:

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Four candidates in the republican primary race fighting for the State House District 18 seat took to the mic on the Newstalk 98.7 Hallerin Hilton Hill.

According to the audio from the show, Daniel claimed to be the only businessman in the race. Hall replied by calling Daniel a “liar,” since he spent several years in the business world. Hall continued to call Daniel a liar, that's when witnesses said Daniel stood up, threw down his headphones, walked over to Hall and hovered over him.

"He was standing aggressively over Steve (Hall's) chair,” said Bryan Dodson, who's also vying for the seat. “Steve stood up – not to do anything -- but just stood up because I think he felt threatened. Then about that time, Martin Daniel just pushed -- shoved him – like with both fists hard in the chest, and shoved him literally back down in his chair."

"That's when Chris (Marion), my producer Chris came in and separated everybody and we tried to bring the tension down,” said Hill, adding that in his 35 years of broadcast, he's never seen two interviewees fight one another.

"(Hall) motioned to get up out of the chair. I simply prevented him from getting out of the chair,” Daniel said on the phone with Local 8 News.

Heather Burian, Reporter: “Do you feel it was necessary to use your hands to make your point?”

Daniel: “You mean to motion with my hands?”

Heather: “No, to push (Hall).”

Daniel: “No. The push occurred when he came at me. The push occurred when Mr. Hall rose to come at me.”

"If you know me, which a lot of people do because I was on city council for eight years, I had a kidney transplant, I'm a diabetic, I don't fight,” Hall rebutted.

Daniel did apologize to Hall in a voicemail and returned to the studio to apologize on air.

"I lost my cool. I want to sincerely apologize for what happened. I want to apologize to you and to Mr. Hall and to any other candidates. I lost my cool and it shouldn't have happened," he said on air.

But Hall said he's not going to accept the apology.

“Do I forgive him, is that what you're asking? No! No! I don't. And that's not being mean. I just don't think he's genuine in it,” Hall said.

Candidates were separately dismissed from the building to avoid further confrontations, according to Hill.

"I wouldn't expect this from grown professionals,” said James Corcoran, another contender in the District 18 race. He was sitting between Daniel and Hall.