RAND PAUL SUPPORTERS ATTACK MOVEON ACTIVIST IN KENTUCKY…. The heated U.S. Senate race in Kentucky has already proven itself to be one of the uglier contests of the year, but conditions took a turn towards violence last night in Lexington.

As far-right ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) arrived for the candidates’ final debate, Lauren Valle of MoveOn.org tried to give him a satirical “employee of the month award” from Republicorp, a pseudo-entity created by MoveOn to draw attention to the merger of the GOP and corporate interests.

But before Valle could reach the candidate, Paul supporters grabbed her, forced her to the ground, and at one point, literally stomped on her head as she lay helpless on the curb.

There was apparently some talk from Paul backers that the woman simply fell. The video shows otherwise.

Valle did not initially appear to be seriously injured in the attack — she spoke to reporters after having been assaulted, complaining of headaches — but last night, Valle was in a local hospital. Her condition has not yet been reported this morning. We also do not yet know who stomped on her head, though local police are investigating.

I’d like to think this goes without saying, but apparently that’s not the case: politically-motivated violence is unacceptable. Large men attacking a defenseless woman and stomping on her head is unacceptable. I know passions are running high and the right-wing Republican base has been whipped into a frenzy, but under no circumstances can we tolerate such misconduct.

It’s possible Paul’s supporters saw Valle as some sort of threat, which is why they tried to prevent her from reaching the candidate. That’s fine. On the video, we can even hear one of these supporters suggest calling the police. That’s fine, too.

But once these thugs reached the curb-stomping phase, it was simply out of control.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.