Yakima County Democrats appear in court following alleged brawl

Yakima County Democrats appear in court following alleged brawl »Play Video
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- It's a campaign fight that will be decided by a judge and not by voters. Assault charges were filed after police said there was a brawl between a candidate for state representative and a high-ranking member of the state's Democratic Party.

Central Washington University student Pablo Gonzalez, who wants to represent the 15th Legislative District, appeared in court Tuesday on fourth-degree assault charges.

So did Donicio Marichalar; the Democratic Party chair of the district. Police say the men got into a fight at the party's office in Sunnyside.

As always, KIMA wanted to get both sides of the story. We even reached out to both parties directly. But, a Sunnyside judge ruled neither one of them could talk to media, and bring you an account of what exactly happened from their perspective.

Action News dug up the court documents that detail two different accounts of the fight.

Marichalar said their argument started with a disagreement about supporting local labor unions and that he decided to stop supporting Gonzalez because of it.

Court records indicate Gonzalez claimed he went to the office to get some of his property.

And, that Marichalar wanted him to sign for a $200 political contribution, but wouldn't because it was over the cash-limit.

From there, Gonzalez told police Marichalar started choking him.
Gonzalez says he punched back to get the chairman to stop.

Neither took legal action immediately.
Records show that changed after Gonzalez sent Marichalar a text message stating, "I will not press charges under the condition that you step down as chair."

It's too early to tell the effect this could have for Gonzalez's chances to win the 15th District seat in Olympia or which story will hold up in court.

Candidate Pablo Gonzalez also faces a harassment charge and is due back in court later this month for a pre-trial hearing.

Donicio Marichalar has yet to hire an attorney.