The tensions that ultimately exploded in an alleged assault on Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) stemmed from a landscaping dispute between him and a neighbor, according to The New York Times.
The Times on Monday reported that Paul and his longtime, next-door neighbor had squabbled over yard care before a violent altercation between the two last Friday.
The newspaper cited neighbors in the pair’s gated community south of Bowling Green, Kentucky and three state Republicans knowledgeable of the events.
Competing explanations of the drama’s origins attributed it to stray yard clippings, newly planted saplings or unraked leaves.
The Times reported that Paul composts on his property, grows pumpkins there and pays little heed to neighborhood regulations.
“They just couldn’t get along,” said Jim Skaggs, who developed the community and lives nearby to Paul and Rene Boucher, the senator’s neighbor.
“I think it had very little to do with Democrat or Republican politics,” he added. “I think it was a neighbor-to-neighbor thing.”
“They just both had strong opinions, and a little different ones about what property rights mean.”
Skaggs, who formerly led the county’s Republican Party, also responded to longstanding accusations that Paul has ignored his neighborhood’s regulations.
“[He] certainly believes in stronger property rights than exist in America,” he said of the 2016 GOP presidential candidate.
Paul was mowing his lawn last Friday when Boucher, a registered Democrat, allegedly charged and tackled him.
A friend familiar with the pair’s confrontation said that Paul was caught off guard by his neighbor of 17 years during the incident.
“Rand never saw him coming or heard him coming,” said Robert Porter, who visited Paul last Saturday.
A top aide to Paul, told The Associated Press on Sunday that the lawmaker is recovering from five broken ribs after the clash.
Doug Stafford added that it remains uncertain when Paul will return to Washington, D.C. due to severe pain from his injuries that hinders flying and traveling.
Boucher was charged with fourth-degree assault following the fracas, but he could face upgraded injuries due to the severity of Paul’s injuries.
Matthew Baker, the attorney representing Boucher, said Monday that the disagreement had “absolutely nothing to do with either’s politics or political agenda.”