Political trackers have been around for years, and Republican followers have been following DFL candidate for Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton for about a year. But when GOP trackers prevent or intimidate voters from approaching him to discuss the issues, Dayton said, a line has been crossed. Dayton showed a video from this past Saturday’s debate at Game Fair to back up his claim. His campaign manager Dana Anderson read a letter being sent to GOP Chair Tony Sutton asking for tracker boundaries such as wearing party identification and standing a respectful distance away.
In response, GOP spokesperson Mark Drake said wearing party ID isn’t necessary for GOP trackers because Dayton knows who they are. Drake defended the tracker tactics but wouldn’t give their names, acknowledging that the public doesn’t know who they are.
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The Dayton’s campaign’s video of the Republican trackers and the text of the letter Dayton’s campaign sent to Minnesota Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton when you continue reading.
Mr. Tony Sutton
Republican Party of Minnesota
525 Park Street, Suite 250
Saint Paul, MN 55103
Dear Mr. Sutton:
At Game Fair last Saturday afternoon, your two “trackers” filming Mark seriously interfered with Minnesotans’ right to talk directly with him or even to walk by him. They stood directly in the middle of the narrow path in front of our tent, intentionally getting in the way of citizens who wanted to speak with Mark and also creating as much congestion as possible in front of him. And since your trackers do not wear clothing identifying themselves as Emmer campaign or Republican Party staffers, some people thought we were causing this problem, not you.
Your disruptive behavior is unprecedented in Minnesota politics. When you interfere with the ability of Minnesotans to walk up to another candidate and have a civil conversation with them, you have gone too far. It is intentional harassment, disruption of our campaign activities, and intimidation of Minnesota voters. Your tactics are way beneath the standard of decency that campaigns of all political parties have previously honored in our state.
Today, I pledge that neither our campaign nor the DFL Party will engage in any “tracking” of your candidate. We will, along with the press, videotape public forums and debates–but we will not trail your candidate’s every movement with a camera in his face. I hope you will join me in this pledge. The people of Minnesota deserve an honest and responsible campaign–one we invited you last week to join with us in promising to provide them–and which you rejected. At the least, however, you should provide your fellow citizens with a minimum standard of courtesy, so that they can approach Mark without having to squeeze past your campaign trackers, and have a conversation with Mark without your cameras in their faces harassing and intimidating them.
If you still insist upon videotaping Mark’s every movement with not one, but two, of your trackers, then you should at least agree to honor basic rules of minimal decency like: (1) having your trackers keep a respectful distance from Mark and the citizens speaking with him, so citizens won’t feel intimidated and harassed by you; (2) having your trackers stand where they do not cause congestion around Mark; and (3) having your trackers wear a t-shirt, a hat, a button, or something that clearly identifies them as staff of the Republican Party or the Emmer Campaign to voters when they are intentionally causing these disruptions.
Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota