Reporter Escorted Out of Debate Spin Room After Punching Mike Huckabee Aide

The GOP debate in Florida Wednesday night was a real slugfest — literally.

A reporter had to be escorted by security out of the post-debate press gaggle in St. Petersburg, after witnesses said he punched an aide to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, knocking him to the ground.

The reporter, identified as Joe Shea of The American Reporter online newspaper, was trying to interview the Republican presidential candidate when it apparently came to blows. The confrontation happened in the so-called "spin room," where political supporters and advisers speak to media on behalf of their candidates after debates.

Click here to see the video of the aftermath.

Shea denied punching the aide after CNN's Dana Bash called security, saying he only pushed the staff member. But witnesses said the reporter clearly threw a punch. The aide stood up after a few seconds with no visible cuts or bruises, and Shea was escorted out of the room.

Huckabee, whose most notable celebrity endorsement has come from Chuck Norris, joked afterward: "I'm going to send Chuck after him."

“I’m just glad they aren’t fighting to get to me so they can fight me," Huckabee said. "I’m not that good. Chuck’s the fighter. I’m the nice guy.”

At the time, Norris was in another part of the room talking to other members of the media.

FOX News' Shushannah Walshe contributed to this report.